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Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2006 Sep;22(5):498-504.

Regulation of pancreatic acinar cell function.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Recent investigations into the regulation of pancreatic acinar cell function have led to a more detailed understanding of the mechanisms regulating digestive enzyme synthesis and secretion. This review identifies and puts into context those articles which further our understanding in this area.


The secretagogue receptors present on acinar cells, especially muscarinic and cholecystokinin, have been better identified and characterized. The complex control of intracellular Ca by intracellular messengers such as inositol trisphosphate, cellular ion pumps and membrane channels has become more clearly understood, including the identification of organelles sequestering intracellular Ca. In the area of Ca driven exocytosis, progress has been made in understanding the proteins present on the zymogen granules, especially Rabs and SNARE proteins, and the dynamic changes in actin filaments. Secretagogues have also been shown to enhance the translation of new protein by activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. Finally, considerable progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms regulating pancreatic growth in response to nutrients and following pancreatectomy or pancreatitis.


Understanding the mechanisms that regulate pancreatic acinar cell function is contributing to our knowledge of normal pancreatic function and alterations in diseases such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

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