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Pflugers Arch. 1997 Mar;433(5):638-47.

Differential stimulation of intestinal mucin secretion by cholera toxin and carbachol.

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Institut für Klinische Physiologie, Universitätsklinikum Benjamin Franklin, Freie Universität Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, D-12200 Berlin, Germany.


Cholinergic stimulation triggers the secretion of apically stored, preformed mucin from goblet cells but the pathway of cAMP-stimulated mucin secretion is not known. In this study the effect of cholera toxin on mucin secretion in the human colonic goblet cell line HT-29/B6 was investigated and compared to the action of carbachol. PAS staining of mucin blotted onto nitrocellulose served to quantify the secretion of total mucin. Metabolic labelling was used to evaluate the secretion of newly synthesized mucin. The mucinous nature of the detected material was confirmed with an immunoblot employing a well-characterized polyclonal antibody reacting with MUC2-mucin. Cholera toxin caused a 116-fold increase of intracellular cAMP and strongly stimulated the secretion of both preformed and newly synthesized mucin for more than 20 h. Carbachol only triggered the release of preformed mucin immediately after addition. The secretory response to cholera toxin could be partly inhibited by the protein kinase A inhibitor H8 and the microtubule inhibitor colchicine. The action of carbachol was not affected by these agents. In conclusion, we demonstrate a direct cAMP-dependent effect of cholera toxin on mucin secretion by intestinal goblet cells. In contrast to carbachol, the action of cholera toxin involves de novo synthesis of mucin molecules and microtubule-mediated secretion. There seem to be distinct secretion pathways for muscarinic or cAMP-dependent stimulation of mucin secretion.

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