Direct Activation of Cytosolic Ca2+ Signaling and Enzyme Secretion by Cholecystokinin in Human Pancreatic Acinar Cells

John A. Murphy, David N. Criddle, Mark Sherwood, Michael Chvanov, Rajarshi Mukherjee, Euan McLaughlin, David Booth, Julia V. Gerasimenko, Michael G.T. Raraty, Paula Ghaneh, John P. Neoptolemos, Oleg V. Gerasimenko, Alexei V. Tepikin, Gary M. Green, Joseph R. Reeve, Ole H. Petersen, Robert Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Cholecystokinin (CCK) has been thought to act only indirectly on human pancreatic acinar cells via vagal nerve stimulation, rather than by direct CCK receptor activation as on rodent pancreatic acinar cells. We tested whether CCK (CCK-8 and human CCK-58) can act directly on human pancreatic acinar cells. Methods: Human acinar cells were freshly isolated from pancreatic transection line samples, loaded with Fluo4-AM or quinacrine, and examined for Ca2+, metabolic and secretory responses to CCK-8, human CCK-58, or acetylcholine with confocal microscopy. Results: CCK-8 and human CCK-58 at physiologic concentrations (1-20 pmol/L) elicited rapid, robust, oscillatory increases of the cytosolic Ca2+ ion concentration, showing apical to basal progression, in acinar cells from 14 patients with unobstructed pancreata. The cytosolic Ca2+ ion concentration increases were followed by increases in mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate production and secretion. CCK-elicited Ca2+ signals and exocytosis were not inhibited by atropine (1 μmol/L) or tetrodotoxin (100 nmol/L), showing that CCK was unlikely to have acted via neurotransmitter release. CCK-elicited Ca2+ signals were inhibited reversibly by caffeine (5-20 mmol/L), indicating involvement of intracellular inositol trisphosphate receptor Ca2+ release channels. Acetylcholine (50 nmol/L) elicited similar Ca2+ signals. Conclusions: CCK at physiologic concentrations in the presence of atropine and tetrodotoxin elicits cytosolic Ca2+ signaling, activates mitochondrial function, and stimulates enzyme secretion in isolated human pancreatic acinar cells. We conclude that CCK acts directly on acinar cells in the human pancreas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-641
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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