ATP-sensitive K+ channels (KATP channels) control electrical activity in β-cells and therefore are key players in excitation-secretion coupling. Partial suppression of β-cell K ATP channels in transgenic (AAA) mice causes hypersecretion of insulin and enhanced glucose tolerance, whereas complete suppression of these channels in Kir6.2 knockout (KO) mice leads to hyperexcitability, but mild glucose intolerance. To test the interplay of hyperexcitability and dietary stress, we subjected AAA and KO mice to a high-fat diet. After 3 months on the diet, both AAA and KO mice converted to an undersecreting and markedly glucose-intolerant phenotype. Although Kir6.2 is expressed in multiple tissues, its primary functional consequence in both AAA and KO mice is enhanced β-cell electrical activity. The results of our study provide evidence that, when combined with dietary stress, this hyperexcitability is a causal diabetic factor. We propose an "inverse U" model for the response to enhanced β-cell excitability: the expected initial hypersecretion can progress to undersecretion and glucose-intolerance, either spontaneously or in response to dietary stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3159-3167
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004


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