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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):G1594-9. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Caerulein-induced intracellular pancreatic zymogen activation is dependent on calcineurin.

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Dept. of Pediatrics, 333 Cedar St., FMP408, PO Box 208064, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Aberrant cytosolic Ca(2+) flux in pancreatic acinar cells is critical to the pathological pancreatic zymogen activation observed in acute pancreatitis, but the downstream effectors are not known. In this study, we examined the role of Ca(2+)-activated protein phosphatase 2B (or calcineurin) in zymogen activation. Isolated pancreatic acinar cells were stimulated with supraphysiological caerulein (100 nM) with or without the calcineurin inhibitors FK506 or cell-permeable calcineurin inhibitory peptide (CiP). Chymotrypsin activity was measured as a marker of zymogen activation, and the percent amylase secretion was used as a measure of enzyme secretion. Cytosolic Ca(2+) changes were recorded in acinar cells loaded with the intermediate Ca(2+)-affinity dye fluo-5F using a scanning confocal microscope. A 50% reduction in chymotrypsin activity was observed after pretreatment with 1 microM FK506 or 10 microM CiP. These pretreatments did not affect amylase secretion or the rise in cytosolic Ca(2+) after caerulein stimulation. These findings suggest that calcineurin mediates caerulein-induced intra-acinar zymogen activation but not enzyme secretion or the initial caerulein-induced cytosolic Ca(2+) signal.

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