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Arch Oral Biol. 1992;37(5):349-54.

Amylase mRNA synthesis and ageing in rat parotid glands following isoproterenol-stimulated secretion.

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Research Service, V.A. Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.


In the parotid, as well as in other exocrine glands, secretory protein synthesis declines with age. However, whether this decline in the steady-state rate of protein synthesis reflects the reduced digestive activity of the animal or actual cellular alterations that affect synthesis is unknown. Here the ability to synthesize amylase and its mRNA during the period of enhanced protein synthesis following secretion induced by isoproterenol was compared in acinar cells of 2-and 24-month-old rats. In unstimulated glands, rates of synthesis of total protein and amylase, as well as amounts of amylase mRNA, were significantly less in the older rats than in their younger counterparts. After stimulation with isoproterenol, which induced the secretion of about 50% of stored proteins, rates of synthesis of total protein, as well as amylase, were increased by about 2.5 x the unstimulated rates in both age groups. However, the amount of amylase mRNA did not increase in parallel with the increase in the rate of amylase protein synthesis in both young and old rats. The molecular size of the mRNA was the same in stimulated and unstimulated glands of both age groups. Thus, it appears that parotid acinar cells from old rats can be stimulated to synthesize secretory proteins at an increased rate. It remains to be determined what causes the reduced rate of protein synthesis in unstimulated glands in old rats.

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