[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perforated whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied to functionally identified beta-cells in intact mouse pancreatic islets to study the extent of cell coupling between adjacent beta-cells. Using a combination of current- and voltage-clamp recordings, the total gap junctional conductance between beta-cells in an islet was estimated to be 1.22 nS. The analysis of the current waveforms in a voltage-clamped cell (due to the firing of an action potential in a neighbouring cell) suggested that the gap junctional conductance between a pair of beta-cells was 0.17 nS. Subthreshold voltage-clamp depolarization (to -55 mV) gave rise to a slow capacitive current indicative of coupling between beta-cells, but not in non-beta-cells, with a time constant of 13.5 ms and a total charge movement of 0.2 pC. Our data suggest that a superficial beta-cell in an islet is in electrical contact with six to seven other beta-cells. No evidence for dye coupling was obtained when cells were dialysed with Lucifer yellow even when electrical coupling was apparent. The correction of the measured resting conductance for the contribution of the gap junctional conductance indicated that the whole-cell KATP channel conductance (GK,ATP) falls from approximately 2.5 nS in the absence of glucose to 0.1 nS at 15 mM glucose with an estimated IC50 of approximately 4mM. Theoretical considerations indicate that the coupling between beta-cells within the islet is sufficient to allow propagation of [Ca2+]i waves to spread with a speed of approximately 80 microms-1, similar to that observed experimentally in confocal [Ca2+]i imaging.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 10/2008; 366(1880):3503-23. · 2.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic islets have a central role in blood glucose homeostasis. In addition to insulin-producing beta-cells and glucagon-secreting alpha-cells, the islets contain somatostatin-releasing delta-cells. Somatostatin is a powerful inhibitor of insulin and glucagon secretion. It is normally secreted in response to glucose and there is evidence suggesting its release becomes perturbed in diabetes. Little is known about the control of somatostatin release. Closure of ATP-regulated K(+)-channels (K(ATP)-channels) and a depolarization-evoked increase in cytoplasmic free Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) have been proposed to be essential. Here, we report that somatostatin release evoked by high glucose (>or=10 mM) is unaffected by the K(ATP)-channel activator diazoxide and proceeds normally in K(ATP)-channel-deficient islets. Glucose-induced somatostatin secretion is instead primarily dependent on Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+)-release (CICR). This constitutes a novel mechanism for K(ATP)-channel-independent metabolic control of pancreatic hormone secretion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Detailed experimental data from patch clamp experiments on pancreatic alpha-cells in intact mouse islets are used to model the electrical activity associated with glucagon secretion. Our model incorporates L- and T-type Ca(2+) currents, delayed rectifying and A-type K(+) currents, a voltage-gated Na(+) current, a KATP conductance, and an unspecific leak current. Tolbutamide closes KATP channels in the alpha-cell, leading to a reduction of the resting conductance from 1.1 nS to 0.4 nS. This causes the alpha-cell to depolarise from -76 mV to 33 mV. When the basal membrane potential passes the range between -60 and -35 mV, the alpha-cell generates action potentials. At higher voltages, the alpha-cell enters a stable depolarised state and the electrical activity ceases. The effects of tolbutamide are simulated by gradually reducing the KATP conductance (g(K,ATP)) from 500 pS to 0 pS. When g(K,ATP ) is between 72 nS and 303 nS, the model generates action potentials in the same voltage range as the alpha-cell. When g(K,ATP) is lower than 72 nS, the model enters a stable depolarised state, and firing of action potentials is inhibited due to voltage-dependent inactivation of the Na(+) and T-type Ca(2+) currents. This is in accordance with experimental results. Changing the inactivation parameters to those observed in somatostatin-secreting delta-cells abolishes the depolarised inactive state, and leads to beta-cell like electrical activity with action potentials generated even after complete closure of the KATP channels.
Journal of Biological Physics 11/2006; 32(3-4):209-29. · 0.95 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have investigated the short-term effects of the saturated free fatty acid (FFA) palmitate on pancreatic alpha-cells. Palmitate (0.5 or 1 mmol/l bound to fatty acid-free albumin) stimulated glucagon secretion from intact mouse islets 1.5- to 2-fold when added in the presence of 1-15 mmol/l glucose. Palmitate remained stimulatory in islets depolarized with 30 mmol/l extracellular K(+) or exposed to forskolin, but it did not remain stimulatory after treatment with isradipine or triacsin C. The stimulatory action of palmitate on secretion correlated with a 3.5-fold elevation of intracellular free Ca(2+) when applied in the presence of 15 mmol/l glucose, a 40% stimulation of exocytosis (measured as increases in cell capacitance), and a 25% increase in whole-cell Ca(2+) current. The latter effect was abolished by isradipine, suggesting that palmitate selectively modulates l-type Ca(2+) channels. The effect of palmitate on exocytosis was not mediated by palmitoyl-CoA, and intracellular application of this FFA metabolite decreased rather than enhanced Ca(2+)-induced exocytosis. The stimulatory effects of palmitate on glucagon secretion were paralleled by a approximately 50% inhibition of somatostatin release. We conclude that palmitate increases alpha-cell exocytosis principally by enhanced Ca(2+) entry via l-type Ca(2+) channels and, possibly, relief from paracrine inhibition by somatostatin released by neighboring delta-cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article discusses the currently used methodologies for monitoring exocytosis as changes in cell capacitance. Details are given on composition of solutions, experimental protocols, and how the observed responses can be interpreted physiologically. The concepts are illustrated by examples from our own work on insulin-releasing pancreatic beta-cells. Finally, we consider the feasibility of applying capacitance measurements to endocrine cells in intact pancreatic islets, where the cells are electrically coupled to each other.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Capacitance measurements of exocytosis were applied to functionally identified alpha-, beta- and delta-cells in intact mouse pancreatic islets. The maximum rate of capacitance increase in beta-cells during a depolarization to 0 mV was equivalent to 14 granules s(-1), <5% of that observed in isolated beta-cells. Beta-cell secretion exhibited bell-shaped voltage dependence and peaked at +20 mV. At physiological membrane potentials (up to approximately -20 mV) the maximum rate of release was approximately 4 granules s(-1). Both exocytosis (measured by capacitance measurements) and insulin release (detected by radioimmunoassay) were strongly inhibited by the L-type Ca(2+) channel blocker nifedipine (25 microm) but only marginally (<20%) affected by the R-type Ca(2+) channel blocker SNX482 (100 nm). Exocytosis in the glucagon-producing alpha-cells peaked at +20 mV. The capacitance increases elicited by pulses to 0 mV exhibited biphasic kinetics and consisted of an initial transient (150 granules s(-1)) and a sustained late component (30 granules s(-1)). Whereas addition of the N-type Ca(2+) channel blocker omega-conotoxin GVIA (0.1 microm) inhibited glucagon secretion measured in the presence of 1 mm glucose to the same extent as an elevation of glucose to 20 mm, the L-type Ca(2+) channel blocker nifedipine (25 microm) had no effect. Thus, glucagon release during hyperglycaemic conditions depends principally on Ca(2+)-influx through N-type rather than L-type Ca(2+) channels. Exocytosis in the somatostatin-secreting delta-cells likewise exhibited two kinetically separable phases of capacitance increase and consisted of an early rapid (600 granules s(-1)) component followed by a sustained slower (60 granules s(-1)) component. We conclude that (1) capacitance measurements in intact pancreatic islets are feasible; (2) exocytosis measured in beta-cells in situ is significantly slower than that of isolated cells; and (3) the different types of islet cells exhibit distinct exocytotic features.
The Journal of Physiology 05/2004; 556(Pt 3):711-26. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The regulation of a K(+) current activating during oscillatory electrical activity (I(K,slow)) in an insulin-releasing beta-cell was studied by applying the perforated patch whole-cell technique to intact mouse pancreatic islets. The resting whole-cell conductance in the presence of 10 mM glucose amounted to 1.3 nS, which rose by 50 % during a series of 26 simulated action potentials. Application of the K(ATP)-channel blocker tolbutamide produced uninterrupted action potential firing and reduced I(K,slow) by approximately 50 %. Increasing glucose from 15 to 30 mM, which likewise converted oscillatory electrical activity into continuous action potential firing, reduced I(K,slow) by approximately 30 % whilst not affecting the resting conductance. Action potential firing may culminate in opening of K(ATP) channels by activation of ATP-dependent Ca(2+) pumping as suggested by the observation that the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) inhibitor thapsigargin (4 microM) inhibited I(K,slow) by 25 % and abolished bursting electrical activity. We conclude that oscillatory glucose-induced electrical activity in the beta-cell involves the opening of K(ATP)-channel activity and that these channels, in addition to constituting the glucose-regulated K(+) conductance, also play a role in the graded response to supra-threshold glucose concentrations.
The Journal of Physiology 01/2003; 545(Pt 2):501-7. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A readily releasable pool (RRP) of granules has been proposed to underlie the first phase of insulin secretion. In the present study we combined electron microscopy, insulin secretion measurements and recordings of cell capacitance in an attempt to define this pool ultrastructurally. Mouse pancreatic B-cells contain approximately 9,000 granules, of which 7% are docked below the plasma membrane. The number of docked granules was reduced by 30% (200 granules) during 10 min stimulation with high K+. This stimulus depolarized the cell to -10 mV, elevated cytosolic [Ca2+] ([Ca2+](i)) from a basal concentration of 130 nM to a peak of 1.3 microM and released 0.5 ng insulin/islet, corresponding to 200-300 granules/cell. The Ca2+ transient decayed towards the prestimulatory concentration within approximately 200 s, presumably reflecting Ca2+ channel inactivation. Renewed stimulation with high K+ failed to stimulate insulin secretion when applied in the absence of glucose. The size of the RRP, derived from the insulin measurements, is similar to that estimated from the increase in cell capacitance elicited by photolytic release of caged Ca2+. We propose that the RRP represents a subset of the docked pool of granules and that replenishment of RRP can be accounted for largely by chemical modification of granules already in place or situated close to the plasma membrane.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 06/2002; 444(1-2):43-51. · 4.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We review a new method to explore the cellular functions in multicellular system by application of the perforated patch-clamp technique to intact pancreatic islet of Langerhans. Using this approach, the integrity of the islet is preserved and intercellular communication via gap junctions and paracrine processes are maintained. By using low-resistance patch electrodes, rapid current responses can be monitored under voltage-clamp control. We have applied this methodology to answer questions not resolved by patch-clamp experiments on isolated single insulin-secreting β-cells. First, the role of a K+-current dependent on Ca2+-influx for the termination of burst of action potentials in β-cells could be documented. Neither the current, nor the bursting pattern of electrical activity is preserved in isolated β-cells. Second, the conductance of gap junctions (∼1 nS) between β-cells was determined. Third, electrical properties of glucagon-producing α- and somatostatin-secreting δ-cells and the different mechanisms for glucose-sensing in these cells could be explored. The findings emanating from these experiments may have implications for neuroscience research such as the mechanism of oscillatory electrical activity in general and processes involved in the glucose-sensing in some neurons, which response to changes of blood glucose concentration.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The association of L-type Ca(2+) channels to the secretory granules and its functional significance to secretion was investigated in mouse pancreatic B cells. Nonstationary fluctuation analysis showed that the B cell is equipped with <500 alpha1(C) L-type Ca(2+) channels, corresponding to a Ca(2+) channel density of 0.9 channels per microm(2). Analysis of the kinetics of exocytosis during voltage-clamp depolarizations revealed an early component that reached a peak rate of 1.1 pFs(-1) (approximately 650 granules/s) 25 ms after onset of the pulse and is completed within approximately 100 ms. This component represents a subset of approximately 60 granules situated in the immediate vicinity of the L-type Ca(2+) channels, corresponding to approximately 10% of the readily releasable pool of granules. Experiments involving photorelease of caged Ca(2+) revealed that the rate of exocytosis was half-maximal at a cytoplasmic Ca(2+) concentration of 17 microM, and concentrations >25 microM are required to attain the rate of exocytosis observed during voltage-clamp depolarizations. The rapid component of exocytosis was not affected by inclusion of millimolar concentrations of the Ca(2+) buffer EGTA but abolished by addition of exogenous L(C753-893), the 140 amino acids of the cytoplasmic loop connecting the 2(nd) and 3(rd) transmembrane region of the alpha1(C) L-type Ca(2+) channel, which has been proposed to tether the Ca(2+) channels to the secretory granules. In keeping with the idea that secretion is determined by Ca(2+) influx through individual Ca(2+) channels, exocytosis triggered by brief (15 ms) depolarizations was enhanced 2.5-fold by the Ca(2+) channel agonist BayK8644 and 3.5-fold by elevating extracellular Ca(2+) from 2.6 to 10 mM. Recordings of single Ca(2+) channel activity revealed that patches predominantly contained no channels or many active channels. We propose that several Ca(2+) channels associate with a single granule thus forming a functional unit. This arrangement is important in a cell with few Ca(2+) channels as it ensures maximum usage of the Ca(2+) entering the cell while minimizing the influence of stochastic variations of the Ca(2+) channel activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perforated patch whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied to superficial cells in intact mouse pancreatic islets. Three types of electrical activity were observed corresponding to alpha-, beta- and delta-cells. The delta-cells were electrically active in the presence of glucose but lacked the oscillatory pattern seen in the beta-cells. By contrast, the alpha-cells were electrically silent at high glucose concentrations but action potentials could be elicited by removal of the sugar. Both alpha- and beta-cells contained transient voltage-activated K+ currents. In the delta-cells, the K+ currents activated above -20 mV and were completely blocked by TEA (20 mM). The alpha-cells differed from the delta-cells in possessing a TEA-resistant K+ current activating already at -40 mV. Immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of Kv3.4 channels in delta-cells and TEA-resistant Kv4.3 channels in alpha-cells. Thus the presence of a transient TEA-resistant current can be used to functionally separate the delta- and alpha-cells. A TTX-sensitive Na+ current developed in delta-cells during depolarisations beyond -30 mV and reached a peak amplitude of 350 pA. Steady-state inactivation of this current was half-maximal at -28 mV. The delta-cells were also equipped with a sustained Ca2+ current that activated above -30 mV and reached a peak of 60 pA when measured at 2.6 mM extracellular Ca2+. A tolbutamide-sensitive KATP channel conductance was observed in delta-cells exposed to glucose-free medium. Addition of tolbutamide (0.1 mM) depolarised the delta-cell and evoked electrical activity. We propose that the KATP channels in delta-cells serve the same function as in the beta-cell and couple an elevation of the blood glucose concentration to stimulation of hormone release.
The Journal of Physiology 12/2000; 528(Pt 3):497-507. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The perforated patch whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied to superficial glucagon-secreting alpha-cells in intact mouse pancreatic islets. alpha-cells were distinguished from the beta- and delta-cells by the presence of a large TTX-blockable Na+ current, a TEA-resistant transient K+ current sensitive to 4-AP (A-current) and the presence of two kinetically separable Ca2+ current components corresponding to low- (T-type) and high-threshold (L-type) Ca2+ channels. The T-type Ca2+, Na+ and A-currents were subject to steady-state voltage-dependent inactivation, which was half-maximal at -45, -47 and -68 mV, respectively. Pancreatic alpha-cells were equipped with tolbutamide-sensitive, ATP-regulated K+ (KATP) channels. Addition of tolbutamide (0.1 mM) evoked a brief period of electrical activity followed by a depolarisation to a plateau of -30 mV with no regenerative electrical activity. Glucagon secretion in the absence of glucose was strongly inhibited by TTX, nifedipine and tolbutamide. When diazoxide was added in the presence of 10 mM glucose, concentrations up to 2 microM stimulated glucagon secretion to the same extent as removal of glucose. We conclude that electrical activity and secretion in the alpha-cells is dependent on the generation of Na+-dependent action potentials. Glucagon secretion depends on low activity of KATP channels to keep the membrane potential sufficiently negative to prevent voltage-dependent inactivation of voltage-gated membrane currents. Glucose may inhibit glucagon release by depolarising the alpha-cell with resultant inactivation of the ion channels participating in action potential generation.
The Journal of Physiology 12/2000; 528(Pt 3):509-20. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: alpha-Cells were identified in preparations of dispersed mouse islets by immunofluorescence microscopy. A high fraction of alpha-cells correlated with a small cell size measured as the average cell diameter (10 microm) and whole-cell capacitance (<4 pF). The alpha-cells generated action potentials at a low frequency (1 Hz) in the absence of glucose. These action potentials were reversibly inhibited by elevation of the glucose concentration to 20 mmol/l. The action potentials originated from a membrane potential more negative than -50 mV, had a maximal upstroke velocity of 5 V/s, and peaked at +1 mV. Voltage-clamp experiments revealed the ionic conductances underlying the generation of action potentials. alpha-Cells are equipped with a delayed tetraethyl-ammonium-blockable outward current (activating at voltages above -20 mV), a large tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na+ current (above -30 mV; peak current 200 pA at +10 mV), and a small Ca2+ current (above -50 mV; peak current 30 pA at +10 mV). The latter flowed through omega-conotoxin GVIA (25%)- and nifedipine-sensitive (50%) Ca(2+)-channels. Mouse alpha-cells contained, on average, 7,300 granules, which undergo Ca(2+)-induced exocytosis when the alpha-cell is depolarized. Three functional subsets of granules were identified, and the size of the immediately releasable pool was estimated as 80 granules, or 1% of the total granule number. The maximal rate of exocytosis (1.5 pF/s) was observed 21 ms after the onset of the voltage-clamp depolarization, which is precisely the duration of Ca(2+)-influx during an action potential. Our results suggest that the secretory machinery of the alpha-cell is optimized for maximal efficiency in the use of Ca2+ for exocytosis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion consists of a transient first phase followed by a sustained second phase. Diabetes (type II) is associated with abnormalities in this release pattern. Here we review the evidence that biphasic insulin secretion reflects exocytosis of two functional subsets of secretory granules and the implications for diabetes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. The perforated patch whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique was applied to superficial cells in intact pancreatic islets. Immunostaining in combination with confocal microscopy revealed that the superficial cells consisted of 35 % insulin-secreting B-cells and 65 % non-B-cells (A- and D-cells). 2. Two types of cell, with distinct electrophysiological properties, could be functionally identified. One of these generated oscillatory electrical activity when the islet was exposed to 10 mM glucose and had the electrophysiological characteristics of isolated B-cells maintained in tissue culture. 3. The Ca2+ current recorded from B-cells in situ was 80 % larger than that of isolated B-cells. It exhibited significant (70 %) inactivation during 100 ms depolarisations. The inactivation was voltage dependent and particularly prominent during depolarisations evoking the largest Ca2+ currents. 4. Voltage-dependent K+ currents were observed during depolarisations to membrane potentials above -20 mV. These currents inactivated little during a 200 ms depolarisation and were unaffected by varying the holding potential between -90 and -30 mV. 5. The maximum resting conductance in the absence of glucose, which reflects the conductance of ATP-regulated K+ (KATP) channels, amounted to approximately 4 nS. Glucose produced a concentration-dependent reduction of KATP channel conductance with half-maximal inhibition observed with 5 mM glucose. 6. Combining voltage- and current-clamp recording allowed the estimation of the gap junction conductance between different B-cells. These experiments indicated that the input conductance of the B-cell at stimulatory glucose concentrations ( approximately 1 nS) is almost entirely accounted for by coupling to neighbouring B-cells.
The Journal of Physiology 01/2000; 521 Pt 3:717-28. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have applied the perforated patch whole-cell technique to beta cells within intact pancreatic islets to identify the current underlying the glucose-induced rhythmic firing of action potentials. Trains of depolarizations (to simulate glucose-induced electrical activity) resulted in the gradual (time constant: 2.3 s) development of a small (<0.8 nS) K(+) conductance. The current was dependent on Ca(2+) influx but unaffected by apamin and charybdotoxin, two blockers of Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels, and was insensitive to tolbutamide (a blocker of ATP-regulated K(+) channels) but partially (>60%) blocked by high (10-20 mM) concentrations of tetraethylammonium. Upon cessation of electrical stimulation, the current deactivated exponentially with a time constant of 6.5 s. This is similar to the interval between two successive bursts of action potentials. We propose that this Ca(2+)-activated K(+) current plays an important role in the generation of oscillatory electrical activity in the beta cell.
The Journal of General Physiology 12/1999; 114(6):759-70. · 4.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. Measurements of cell capacitance were used to investigate the mechanisms by which acetylcholine (ACh) stimulates Ca2+-induced exocytosis in single insulin-secreting mouse pancreatic B-cells. 2. ACh (250 microM) increased exocytotic responses elicited by voltage-clamp depolarizations 2.3-fold. This effect was mediated by activation of muscarinic receptors and dependent on elevation of the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) attributable to mobilization of Ca2+ from intracellular stores. The latter action involved interference with the buffering of [Ca2+]i and the time constant (tau) for the recovery of [Ca2+]i following a voltage-clamp depolarization increased 5-fold. As a result, Ca2+ was present at concentrations sufficient to promote the replenishment of the readily releasable pool of granules (RRP; > 0.2 microM) for much longer periods in the presence than in the absence of the agonist. 3. The effect of Ca2+ on exocytosis was mediated by activation of CaM kinase II, but not protein kinase C, and involved both an increased size of the RRP from 40 to 140 granules and a decrease in tau for the refilling of the RRP from 31 to 19 s. 4. Collectively, the effects of ACh on the RRP and tau result in a > 10-fold stimulation of the rate at which granules are supplied for release.
The Journal of Physiology 08/1999; 518 ( Pt 3):745-59. · 4.38 Impact Factor