The pancreatic β-cell secretes insulin in response to elevated plasma glucose. This review applies an external bioenergetic critique to the central processes of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, including glycolytic and mitochondrial metabolism, the cytosolic adenine nucleotide pool, and its interaction with plasma membrane ion channels. The control mechanisms responsible for the unique responsiveness of the cell to glucose availability are discussed from bioenergetic and metabolic control standpoints. The concept of coupling factor facilitation of secretion is critiqued, and an attempt is made to unravel the bioenergetic basis of the oscillatory mechanisms controlling secretion. The need to consider the physiological constraints operating in the intact cell is emphasized throughout. The aim is to provide a coherent pathway through an extensive, complex, and sometimes bewildering literature, particularly for those unfamiliar with the field.
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