Membrane potential and whole-cell current were studied in rat pancreatic β-cells using the `perforated patch' technique and cell volume measured by a video-imaging method. Exposure of β-cells to the α-ketoaldehyde methylglyoxal (1 mm) resulted in depolarization and electrical activity. In cells voltage-clamped at −70 mV, this effect was accompanied by the development of inward current noise. In voltage-pulse experiments, methylglyoxal activated an outwardly rectifying conductance which was virtually identical to the volume-sensitive anion conductance previously described in these cells. Two inhibitors of this conductance, 4,4′-dithiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid (DIDS) and 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino) benzoic acid (NPPB), also inhibited the depolarization and inward current evoked by methylglyoxal. Methylglyoxal increased β-cell volume to a relative value of 1.33 after 10 min with a gradual return towards basal levels following withdrawal of the α-ketoaldehyde. None of the effects of methylglyoxal was observed in response to t-butylglyoxal which, unlike methylglyoxal, is a poor substrate for the glyoxalase pathway. Methylglyoxal had no apparent effect on β-cell K+ channel activity. It is suggested that the metabolism of methylglyoxal to d-lactate causes β-cell swelling and activation of the volume-sensitive anion channel, leading to depolarization. These findings could be relevant to the stimulatory action of d-glucose, the metabolism of which generates significant quantities of l-lactate.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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