Ubiquitously expressed throughout the body, ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels couple cellular metabolism to electrical activity in multiple tissues; their unique assembly as four Kir6 pore-forming subunits and four sulfonylurea receptor (SUR) subunits has resulted in a large armory of selective channel opener and inhibitor drugs. The spectrum of monogenic pathologies that result from gain- or loss-of-function mutations in these channels, and the potential for therapeutic correction of these pathologies, is now clear. However, while available drugs can be effective treatments for specific pathologies, cross-reactivity with the other Kir6 or SUR subfamily members can result in drug-induced versions of each pathology and may limit therapeutic usefulness. This review discusses the background to KATP channel physiology, pathology, and pharmacology and considers the potential for more specific or effective therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-563
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology
StatePublished - Jan 20 2023


  • Cantú syndrome
  • Kir6.1
  • Kir6.2
  • SUR1
  • SUR2
  • congenital hyperinsulinism
  • neonatal diabetes


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