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Saturday 01 November 2003

Critical role for NHE1 in intracellular pH regulation in pancreatic acinar cells.

By: Brown DA, Melvin JE, Yule DI.

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2003 Nov;285(5):G804-12

The primary function of pancreatic acinar cells is to secrete digestive enzymes together with a NaCl-rich primary fluid which is later greatly supplemented and modified by the pancreatic duct. A Na+/H+ exchanger(s) [NHE(s)] is proposed to be integral in the process of fluid secretion both in terms of the transcellular flux of Na+ and intracellular pH (pHi) regulation. Multiple NHE isoforms have been identified in pancreatic tissue, but little is known about their individual functions in acinar cells. The Na+/H+ exchange inhibitor 5-(N-ethyl-N-isopropyl) amiloride completely blocked pHi recovery after an NH4Cl-induced acid challenge, confirming a general role for NHE in pHi regulation. The targeted disruption of the Nhe1 gene also completely abolished pHi recovery from an acid load in pancreatic acini in both HCO3--containing and HCO3--free solutions. In contrast, the disruption of either Nhe2 or Nhe3 had no effect on pHi recovery. In addition, NHE1 activity was upregulated in response to muscarinic stimulation in wild-type mice but not in NHE1-deficient mice. Fluctuations in pHi could potentially have major effects on Ca2+ signaling following secretagogue stimulation; however, the targeted disruption of Nhe1 was found to have no significant effect on intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. These data demonstrate that NHE1 is the major regulator of pHi in both resting and muscarinic agonist-stimulated pancreatic acinar cells.

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