Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Glucagon, the principal hyperglycemic hormone, is secreted from pancreatic islet α cells as part of the counter-regulatory response to hypoglycemia. Hence, secretory output from α cells is under high demand in conditions of low glucose supply. Many tissues oxidize fat as an alternate energy substrate. Here, we show that glucagon secretion in low glucose conditions is maintained by fatty acid metabolism in both mouse and human islets, and that inhibiting this metabolic pathway profoundly decreases glucagon output by depolarizing α cell membrane potential and decreasing action potential amplitude. We demonstrate, by using experimental and computational approaches, that this is not mediated by the KATP channel, but instead due to reduced operation of the Na+-K+ pump. These data suggest that counter-regulatory secretion of glucagon is driven by fatty acid metabolism, and that the Na+-K+ pump is an important ATP-dependent regulator of α cell function.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Rep

Publication Date





3300 - 3311


Ca2+, KATP, fasting, glucose, islet, liver, metabolism