We have examined the secretogogue responsiveness and the pattern of secretory proteins produced by a transplantable rat pancreatic acinar cell tumor. Dispersed tumor cells were found to discharge secretory proteins in vitro when incubated with hormones that act on four different classes of receptors: carbamylcholine, caerulein, secretin-vasoactive intestinal peptide, and bombesin. With all hormones tested, maximal discharge from tumor cells was only about one-half that of control pancreatic lobules, but occurred at the same dose optima except for secretin, whose dose optimum was 10-fold higher. Biochemical analysis of secretory proteins discharged by the tumor cells was carried out by crossed immunoelectrophoresis and by two-dimensional isoelectric focusing-SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. To establish a baseline for comparison, secretory proteins from normal rat pancreas were identified according to enzymatic activity and correlated with migration position on two-dimensional gels. Our results indicate that a group of basic polypeptides including proelastase, basic trypsinogen, basic chymotrypsinogen, and ribonuclease, two out of three forms of procarboxypeptidase B, and the major lipase species were greatly reduced or absent in tumor cell secretion. In contrast, the amount of acidic chymotrypsinogen was notably increased compared with normal acinar cells. Although the acinar tumor cells are highly differentiated cytologically and express functional receptors for several classes of pancreatic secretagogues, they show quantitative and qualitative differences when compared with normal pancreas with regard to their production of secretory proteins.

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