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ABCC8 gene

ATP binding cassette subfamily C member 8

Normal Function

The ABCC8 gene provides instructions for making the sulfonylurea receptor 1 (SUR1) protein. The SUR1 protein is one part (subunit) of the ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channel that is found across cell membranes in the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells secrete insulin, which is a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. Insulin controls how much sugar (in the form of glucose) is passed from the bloodstream into cells to be used as energy. The K-ATP channel controls the secretion of insulin out of beta cells and into the bloodstream. These channels open and close in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, which helps regulate insulin secretion and control blood glucose levels. The closing of the channels results in a process that triggers insulin secretion by beta cells.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Congenital hyperinsulinism

More than 300 mutations in the ABCC8 gene have been found to cause congenital hyperinsulinism. This condition causes frequent episodes of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), decreased energy, and irritability. Most of these mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the SUR1 protein.

Some ABCC8 mutations prevent the SUR1 protein from reaching the cell membrane, interfering with the proper formation of the K-ATP channel. Other mutations interfere with the K-ATP channel's function or its responses to outside molecules. Defective K-ATP channels lead to the constant release of insulin from beta cells. As a result, glucose is rapidly removed from the bloodstream. Without treatment, the hypoglycemia caused by congenital hyperinsulinism may result in serious complications such as intellectual disability and seizures.

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Permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus

At least 14 mutations in the ABCC8 gene have been identified in people with permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus. Individuals with this condition often have a low birth weight and develop increased blood sugar (hyperglycemia) within the first 6 months of life.

ABCC8 gene mutations that cause permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus change single amino acids in the protein sequence. These mutations result in K-ATP channels that do not close, leading to reduced insulin secretion from beta cells and impaired blood sugar control.

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Maturity-onset diabetes of the young

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Maturity-onset diabetes of the young

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Other disorders

Other ABCC8 gene mutations that have a relatively mild effect on K-ATP channel function as compared to that seen in permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus (see above) cause a condition called transient neonatal diabetes mellitus. Infants with this condition have hyperglycemia during the first 6 months of life, but their blood sugar returns to normal by age 18 months. However, affected individuals usually develop hyperglycemia again during adolescence or early adulthood. As in permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus, ABCC8 gene mutations that cause transient neonatal diabetes mellitus interfere with K-ATP channel closure and lead to a reduction in insulin secretion.

Some studies suggest that normal variations (polymorphisms) in the ABCC8 gene are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. Other studies, however, have not found an association between ABCC8 gene variants and type 2 diabetes. People with this disease have hyperglycemia because the body does not respond correctly to the insulin secreted from beta cells. Although changes in the ABCC8 gene may be associated with type 2 diabetes, a combination of lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors all play a part in determining the risk of this complex disorder.

Other Names for This Gene

  • ABC36
  • ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C (CFTR/MRP), member 8
  • ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C, member 8
  • MRP8
  • SUR
  • SUR1
  • TNDM2

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Bennett K, James C, Hussain K. Pancreatic beta-cell KATP channels: Hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2010 Sep;11(3):157-63. doi: 10.1007/s11154-010-9144-2. Citation on PubMed
  • Edghill EL, Flanagan SE, Ellard S. Permanent neonatal diabetes due to activating mutations in ABCC8 and KCNJ11. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2010 Sep;11(3):193-8. doi: 10.1007/s11154-010-9149-x. Citation on PubMed
  • Ellard S, Flanagan SE, Girard CA, Patch AM, Harries LW, Parrish A, Edghill EL, Mackay DJ, Proks P, Shimomura K, Haberland H, Carson DJ, Shield JP, Hattersley AT, Ashcroft FM. Permanent neonatal diabetes caused by dominant, recessive, or compound heterozygous SUR1 mutations with opposite functional effects. Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Aug;81(2):375-82. doi: 10.1086/519174. Epub 2007 Jun 29. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Flanagan SE, Clauin S, Bellanne-Chantelot C, de Lonlay P, Harries LW, Gloyn AL, Ellard S. Update of mutations in the genes encoding the pancreatic beta-cell K(ATP) channel subunits Kir6.2 (KCNJ11) and sulfonylurea receptor 1 (ABCC8) in diabetes mellitus and hyperinsulinism. Hum Mutat. 2009 Feb;30(2):170-80. doi: 10.1002/humu.20838. Citation on PubMed
  • Flanagan SE, Patch AM, Mackay DJ, Edghill EL, Gloyn AL, Robinson D, Shield JP, Temple K, Ellard S, Hattersley AT. Mutations in ATP-sensitive K+ channel genes cause transient neonatal diabetes and permanent diabetes in childhood or adulthood. Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1930-7. doi: 10.2337/db07-0043. Epub 2007 Apr 19. Erratum In: Diabetes. 2008 Feb;57(2):523. Citation on PubMed
  • Gloyn AL, Siddiqui J, Ellard S. Mutations in the genes encoding the pancreatic beta-cell KATP channel subunits Kir6.2 (KCNJ11) and SUR1 (ABCC8) in diabetes mellitus and hyperinsulinism. Hum Mutat. 2006 Mar;27(3):220-31. doi: 10.1002/humu.20292. Citation on PubMed
  • Huopio H, Shyng SL, Otonkoski T, Nichols CG. K(ATP) channels and insulin secretion disorders. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Aug;283(2):E207-16. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00047.2002. Citation on PubMed
  • Pinney SE, MacMullen C, Becker S, Lin YW, Hanna C, Thornton P, Ganguly A, Shyng SL, Stanley CA. Clinical characteristics and biochemical mechanisms of congenital hyperinsulinism associated with dominant KATP channel mutations. J Clin Invest. 2008 Aug;118(8):2877-86. doi: 10.1172/JCI35414. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Sandal T, Laborie LB, Brusgaard K, Eide SA, Christesen HB, Sovik O, Njolstad PR, Molven A. The spectrum of ABCC8 mutations in Norwegian patients with congenital hyperinsulinism of infancy. Clin Genet. 2009 May;75(5):440-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2009.01152.x. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.