The Journal of biological chemistry

Bile acids induce a cationic current, depolarizing pancreatic acinar cells and increasing the intracellular Na+ concentration.

PMID 15536077


Biliary disease is a major cause of acute pancreatitis. In this study we investigated the electrophysiological effects of bile acids on pancreatic acinar cells. In perforated patch clamp experiments we found that taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate depolarized pancreatic acinar cells. At low bile acid concentrations this occurred without rise in the cytosolic calcium concentration. Measurements of the intracellular Na(+) concentration with the fluorescent probe Sodium Green revealed a substantial increase upon application of the bile acid. We found that bile acids induce Ca(2+)-dependent and Ca(2+)-independent components of the Na(+) concentration increase. The Ca(2+)-independent component was resolved in conditions when the cytosolic Ca(2+) level was buffered with a high concentration of the calcium chelator 1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA). The Ca(2+)-dependent component of intracellular Na(+) increase was clearly seen during stimulation with the calcium-releasing agonist acetylcholine. During acetylcholine-induced Ca(2+) oscillations the recovery of cytosolic Na(+) was much slower than the recovery of Ca(2+), creating a possibility for the summation of Na(+) transients. The bile-induced Ca(2+)-independent current was found to be carried primarily by Na(+) and K(+), with only small Ca(2+) and Cl(-) contributions. Measurable activation of such a cationic current could be produced by a very low concentration of taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate (10 microm). This bile acid induced a cationic current even when applied in sodium- and bicarbonate-free solution. Other bile acids, taurochenodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, and bile itself also induced cationic currents. Bile-induced depolarization of acinar cells should have a profound effect on acinar fluid secretion and, consequently, on transport of secreted zymogens.

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Taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate disodium salt