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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jun;276(6 Pt 1):G1391-400.

Endogenous ATP release regulates Cl- secretion in cultured human and rat biliary epithelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


P2Y receptor stimulation increases membrane Cl- permeability in biliary epithelial cells, but the source of extracellular nucleotides and physiological relevance of purinergic signaling to biliary secretion are unknown. Our objectives were to determine whether biliary cells release ATP under physiological conditions and whether extracellular ATP contributes to cell volume regulation and transepithelial secretion. With the use of a sensitive bioluminescence assay, constitutive ATP release was detected from human Mz-ChA-1 cholangiocarcinoma cells and polarized normal rat cholangiocyte monolayers. ATP release increased rapidly during cell swelling induced by hypotonic exposure. In Mz-ChA-1 cells, removal of extracellular ATP (apyrase) and P2 receptor blockade (suramin) reversibly inhibited whole cell Cl- current activation and prevented cell volume recovery during hypotonic stress. Moreover, exposure to apyrase induced cell swelling under isotonic conditions. In intact normal rat cholangiocyte monolayers, hypotonic perfusion activated apical Cl- currents, which were inhibited by addition of apyrase and suramin to bathing media. These findings indicate that modulation of ATP release by the cellular hydration state represents a potential signal coordinating cell volume with membrane Cl- permeability and transepithelial Cl- secretion.

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