Decreasing Cx36 Gap Junction Coupling Compensates for Overactive KATP Channels to Restore Insulin Secretion and Prevent Hyperglycemia in a Mouse Model of Neonatal Diabetes
- 1Department of Bioengineering, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
- 2Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
- Corresponding author: Richard K.P. Benninger, .
L.M.N. and M.P. contributed equally to this study.
Mutations to the ATP-sensitive K+ channel (KATP channel) that reduce the sensitivity of ATP inhibition cause neonatal diabetes mellitus via suppression of β-cell glucose-stimulated free calcium activity ([Ca2+]i) and insulin secretion. Connexin-36 (Cx36) gap junctions also regulate islet electrical activity; upon knockout of Cx36, β-cells show [Ca2+]i elevations at basal glucose. We hypothesized that in the presence of overactive ATP-insensitive KATP channels, a reduction in Cx36 would allow elevations in glucose-stimulated [Ca2+]i and insulin secretion to improve glucose homeostasis. To test this, we introduced a genetic knockout of Cx36 into mice that express ATP-insensitive KATP channels and measured glucose homeostasis and islet metabolic, electrical, and insulin secretion responses. In the normal presence of Cx36, after expression of ATP-insensitive KATP channels, blood glucose levels rapidly rose to >500 mg/dL. Islets from these mice showed reduced glucose-stimulated [Ca2+]i and no insulin secretion. In mice lacking Cx36 after expression of ATP-insensitive KATP channels, normal glucose levels were maintained. Islets from these mice had near-normal glucose-stimulated [Ca2+]i and insulin secretion. We therefore demonstrate a novel mechanism by which islet function can be recovered in a monogenic model of diabetes. A reduction of gap junction coupling allows sufficient glucose-stimulated [Ca2+]i and insulin secretion to prevent the emergence of diabetes.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-1048/-/DC1.
- Received July 3, 2013.
- Accepted January 8, 2014.
- © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.
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