The critical involvement of ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels in insulin secretion is confirmed both by the demonstration that mutations that reduce KATP channel activity underlie many if not most cases of persistent hyperinsulinemia, and by the ability of sulfonylureas, which inhibit KATP channels, to enhance insulin secretion in type II diabetics. By extrapolation, we contend that mutations that increase β-cell KATP channel activity should inhibit glucose-dependent insulin secretion and underlie, or at least predispose to, a diabetic phenotype. In transgenic animal models, this prediction seems to be borne out. Although earlier genetic studies failed to demonstrate a linkage between KATP mutations and diabetes in humans, recent studies indicate significant association of KATP channel gene mutations or polymorphisms and type II diabetes. We suggest that further efforts to understand the involvement of KATP channels in diabetes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E403-E412
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3 46-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


  • ATP-sensitive potassium channels
  • Kir6.2
  • Pancreas
  • SUR1


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