The adenohypophysis contains high-affinity binding sites for antidiabetic sulfonylureas that are specific blockers of ATP-sensitive K+ channels. The binding protein has a M(r) of 145,000 +/- 5000. The presence of ATP-sensitive K+ channels (26 pS) has been demonstrated by electrophysiological techniques. Intracellular perfusion of adenohypophysis cells with an ATP-free medium to activate ATP-sensitive K+ channels induces a large hyperpolarization (approximately 30 mV) that is antagonized by antidiabetic sulfonylureas. Diazoxide opens ATP-sensitive K+ channels in adenohypophysis cells as it does in pancreatic beta cells and also induces a hyperpolarization (approximately 30 mV) that is also suppressed by antidiabetic sulfonylureas. As in pancreatic beta cells, glucose and antidiabetic sulfonylureas depolarize the adenohypophysis cells and thereby indirectly increase Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels. The K+ channel opener diazoxide has an opposite effect. Opening ATP-sensitive K+ channels inhibits growth hormone secretion and this inhibition is eliminated by antidiabetic sulfonylureas.
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