Stimulus-secretion coupling in pancreatic exocrine cells was studied using dissociated acini, prepared from mouse pancreas, and chlorotetracycline (CTC), a fluorescent probe which forms highly fluorescent complexes with Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions bound to membranes. Acini, preloaded by incubation with CTC (100 microM), displayed a fluorescence having spectral properties like that of CTC complexed to calcium (excitation and emission maxima at 398 and 527 nm, respectively). Stimulation with either bethanechol or caerulein resulted in a rapid loss of fluorescence intensity and an increase in outflux of CTC from the acini. After 5 min of stimulation, acini fluorescence had been reduced by 40% and appeared to be that of CTC complexed to Mg2+ (excitation and emission maxima at 393 and 521 nm, respectively). The fluorescence loss induced by bethanechol was blocked by atropine and was seen at all agonist concentrations that elicited amylase release. Maximal fluorescence loss, however, required a bethanechol concentration three times greater than that needed for maximal amylase release. In contrast, acini preloaded with ANS or oxytetracycline, probes that are relatively insensitive to membrane-bound divalent cations, displayed no secretagogue-induced fluorescence changes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that CTC is able to probe some set of intracellular membranes which release calcium during secretory stimulation and that this release results in dissociation of Ca(2+)-complexed CTC.

This content is only available as a PDF.