Prolonged exposure to high glucose levels impairs the ability of pancreatic islets to secrete insulin as a response to that stimulus. Because glucose, like other insulin secretagogues, elicits insulin secretion by inhibiting the ATP-sensitive K+ channels, in this study, we investigated the effect of prolonged (24-h) exposure of rat pancreatic islets to high (16.7 mM) glucose concentration on 86Rb efflux (used as a tracer for K+). The data obtained indicate that islets exposed to high glucose concentration have impaired function of the glucose-sensitive K+ channel, this phenomenon is temporarily related to a defective response of glucose-induced insulin release, and these alterations are reversible.

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