The sulphonylurea receptor may be an ATP-sensitive potassium channel

Nicholas C. Sturgess, Daniel L. Cook, Michael L. J. Ashford, C. Nicholas Hales

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    504 Citations (Scopus)


    The stimulation of insulin secretion from the ß cells of the islets of Langerhans appears to be mediated by a decrease in the cell-membrane potassium-ion permeability. Tolbutamide reduced K+ movement through an ATP-sensitive K+ channel in patches of plasma membrane from an insulin-producing cell line when applied to the external surface of the membrane. The effect occurred at concentrations which exist in the serum of patients treated with tolbutamide and which stimulate insulin secretion from islets of Langerhans in vitro. Glibenclamide had a similar effect but, in keeping with its greater therapeutic potency, at concentrations one hundred times lower. These findings suggest that an ATP-sensitive K+ channel or a protein closely associated with it may be the receptor through which sulphonylureas act to stimulate insulin secretion in vitro.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)474-475
    Number of pages2
    Issue number8453
    Publication statusPublished - 1985


    • Rats
    • Glyburide
    • Animals
    • Sulfonylurea Compounds
    • Ion Channels
    • Cell Membrane
    • Islets of Langerhans
    • Tolbutamide
    • Adenosine Triphosphate
    • Insulin
    • Cell Line


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