Voltage-Operated Calcium Channel Heterogeneity in Pancreatic β Cells: Physiopathological Implications

E. Sher, F. Giovannini, A. Codignola, M. Passafaro, P. Giorgi-Rossi, S. Volsen, P. Craig, A. Davalli, P. Carrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Voltage-operated calcium channels play crucial roles in stimulus-secretion coupling in pancreatic β cells. A growing body of evidence indicates that these channels in β cells are heterogeneous. In particular, not all the high-threshold calcium channels expressed belong to the best known L-type. In rat insulinoma cells, for example, L, N, and P/Q-type channels are present, while in human β cells L-type and P/Q-type dominate. Where present, N-type and P/Q-type channels participate, alongside with the dominant L-type, in the control of sugar- or depolarization-induced hormone release. Distinct biophysical properties and selective modulation of the channel subtypes are likely to play important physiological roles. T-type channels are involved in beta cell apoptosis, while calcium channel autoantibodies recognizing high-threshold channels in β cells, have been described both in neurological and diabetic patients. Subtype-selective calcium channel drugs have the potential for being beneficial in beta cell pathological states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-696
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • β Cell
  • Calcium channel
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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