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Neuron. 1999 Jul;23(3):607-15.

Mechanisms underlying phasic and sustained secretion in chromaffin cells from mouse adrenal slices.

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Department of Membrane Biophysics, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Many neurosecretory preparations display two components of depolarization-induced exocytosis: a phasic component synchronized with Ca2+ channel opening, followed by a slower sustained component. We evaluated possible mechanisms underlying this biphasic behavior by stimulating mouse chromaffin cells in situ with both depolarizations and flash photolysis of caged Ca2+. From a direct comparison of the secretory responses to both stimuli, we conclude that phasic and sustained release components originate from a readily releasable pool (RRP) of equally fusion-competent vesicles, suggesting that differences in the vesicles' proximity to Ca2+ channels underlie the biphasic secretory behavior. An intermediate pool in dynamic equilibrium with the RRP ensures rapid recruitment of release-ready vesicles after RRP depletion. Our results are discussed in terms of a refined model for secretion in chromaffin cells.

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