• Jacobson DA, Kuznetsov A, Lopez JP, Kash S, Ammälä CE, Philipson LH. Kv2.1 ablation alters glucose-induced islet electrical activity, enhancing insulin secretion. Cell metabolism. 2007 Sep;6(3). 229-35. PMID: 17767909 [PubMed]. PMCID: PMC2699758. NIHMSID: NIHMS30076.

Abstract 

Voltage-gated potassium currents (Kv), primarily due to Kv2.1 channels, are activated by glucose-stimulated pancreatic beta cell depolarization, but the exact role (or roles) of this channel in regulating insulin secretion remains uncertain. Here we report that, compared with controls, Kv2.1 null mice have reduced fasting blood glucose levels and elevated serum insulin levels. Glucose tolerance is improved and insulin secretion is enhanced compared to control animals, with similar results in isolated islets in vitro. Isolated Kv2.1(-/-) beta cells have residual Kv currents, which are decreased by 83% at +50 mV compared with control cells. The glucose-induced action potential (AP) duration is increased while the firing frequency is diminished, similar to the effect of specific toxins on control cells but substantially different from the effect of the less specific blocker tetraethylammonium. These results reveal the specific role of Kv2.1 in modulating glucose-stimulated APs of beta cells, exposing additional important currents involved in regulating physiological insulin secretion.