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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sparteine increases insulin release by decreasing the K+ permeability of the B-cell membrane.

The effects of sparteine on the pancreatic B-cell function have been studied with mouse islets. In the presence of a non-stimulatory concentration of glucose (3 mM), sparteine (0.2-1 mM) decreased the rate of 86Rb+ efflux from islet cells, depolarized the B-cell membrane, induced a glucose-like electrical activity and stimulated insulin release. This increase in release was observed over a large range of glucose concentrations (3-20 mM), and was most marked in the presence of 10 mM glucose. At this concentration of glucose, the effect of sparteine was already detected with 0.02 mM and was maximal with 0.5 mM. Higher concentrations of sparteine only had a transient effect on insulin release. In the presence of 10 mM glucose, 0.2 mM sparteine decreased 86Rb+ efflux and increased 45Ca2+ efflux from islet cells. The effect on 86Rb+ efflux was only transient in the presence of extracellular calcium, whereas the effect on 45Ca2+ efflux required the presence of extracellular calcium. The electrical activity induced by glucose in B-cells was augmented by sparteine which, at a concentration of 0.5 mM, produced a persistent depolarization with continuous spike activity. The potentiation of insulin release by sparteine was not reversible, but was inhibited by adrenaline and completely blocked by omission of extracellular calcium. Sparteine reversed the increase in 86Rb+ efflux and the decrease in insulin release caused by diazoxide. These results show that sparteine increases insulin release by reducing the K+-permeability of the B-cell membrane.[1]


  1. Sparteine increases insulin release by decreasing the K+ permeability of the B-cell membrane. Paolisso, G., Nenquin, M., Schmeer, W., Mathot, F., Meissner, H.P., Henquin, J.C. Biochem. Pharmacol. (1985) [Pubmed]
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