Repaglinide activity is dependent on the presence functioning _ cells and glucose. In contrast to sulfonylurea insulin secretatogogues, repaglinide has no effect on insulin release in the absence of glucose. Rather, it potentiates the effect of extracellular glucose on ATP-sensitive potassium channel and has little effect on insulin levels between meals and overnight. As such, repaglinide is more effective at reducing postprandial blood glucose levels than fasting blood glucose levels and requires a longer duration of therapy (approximately one month) before decreases in fasting blood glucose are observed. The insulinotropic effects of repaglinide are highest at intermediate glucose levels (3 to 10 mmol/L) and it does not increase insulin release already stimulated by high glucose concentrations (greater than 15 mmol/L). Repaglinide appears to be selective for pancreatic _ cells and does not appear to affect skeletal or cardiac muscle or thyroid tissue.
Insulin secretion by pancreatic _ cells is partly controlled by cellular membrane potential. Membrane potential is regulated through an inverse relationship between the activity of cell membrane ATP-sensitive potassium channels (ABCC8) and extracellular glucose concentrations. Extracellular glucose enters the cell via GLUT2 (SLC2A2) transporters. Once inside the cell, glucose is metabolized to produce ATP. High concentrations of ATP inhibit ATP-sensitive potassium channels causing membrane depolarization. When extracellular glucose concentrations are low, ATP-sensitive potassium channels open causing membrane repolarization. High glucose concentrations cause ATP-sensitive potassium channels to close resulting in membrane depolarization and opening of L-type calcium channels. The influx of calcium ions stimulates calcium-dependent exocytosis of insulin granules. Repaglinide increases insulin release by inhibiting ATP-sensitive potassium channels in a glucose-dependent manner.
Repaglinide is rapidly metabolized via oxidation and dealkylation by cytochrome P450 3A4 and 2C9 to form the major dicarboxylic acid derivative (M2). Further oxidation produces the aromatic amine derivative (M1). Glucuronidation of the carboxylic acid group of repaglinide yields an acyl glucuronide (M7). Several other unidentified metabolites have been detected. Repaglinide metabolites to not possess appreciable hypoglycemic activity.
LD50 >1 g/kg (rat) (W. Grell)