Electrophysiological evidence for coupling between β cells of pancreatic islets


IT has been shown that the β cells of pancreatic islets exhibit electrical activity when stimulated with insulin releasing agents1–3. There is evidence that this activity is directly correlated with the insulin release and that it has an important role in the secretory process2,4,5. More recently it was documented that β cells within an islet are connected by gap junctions6,7 which are considered as low resistance pathways (ref. 8 and refs therein). The question therefore arises whether the electrical activity can spread electrotonically from one cell to another within an islet. To further elucidate this question the electrical activity from two different cells was measured by simultaneous impalement with two microelectrodes.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Dean, P. M., and Matthews, E. K., Nature, 219, 389–390 (1968).

  2. 2

    Meissner, H. P., and Schmelz, H., Pflügers Arch., 351, 195–206 (1974).

  3. 3

    Pace, C. S., and Price, S., Endocrinology, 94, 142–147 (1974).

  4. 4

    Dean, P. M., Matthews, E. K., and Sakamoto, Y., J. Physiol., Lond., 246, 459–478 (1975).

  5. 5

    Meissner, H. P., and Atwater, I. J., Horm. Metab. Res., 8, 11–16 (1976).

  6. 6

    Orci, L., Unger, R. H., and Renold, A. E., Experientia, 29, 1015–1018 (1973).

  7. 7

    Berger, W., Dahl, G., and Meissner, H. P., Cytobiologie, 12, 119–139 (1975).

  8. 8

    Gilula, N. P., Cell Communication (edit. by Cox, R. P.) (Wiley, New York, 1974).

  9. 9

    Patent, G. J., and Alfert, M., Acta anat., 66, 504–519 (1967).

  10. 10

    Meissner, H. P., J. Physiol. Paris, (in the press).

  11. 11

    Atwater, I., and Meissner, H. P., J. Physiol., Lond., 247, 56–58P (1975).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.