Intracellular transport of pancreatic zymogens during caerulein supramaximal stimulation

I. Saito, S. Hashimoto, A. Saluja, M. L. Steer, J. Meldolesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Rats infused with a dose of the secretagogue caerulein that is in excess of that which stimulates a maximal rate of pancreatic digestive enzyme secretion develop acute edematous pancreatitis. We have previously noted that infusion of this dose of caerulein (5 μg·kg-1·h-1) induces the appearance of large heterogeneous vacuoles in acinar cell, blockade of exocytosis, and intracellular accumulation of digestive zymogens [O. Watanabe et al. Am. J. Physiol. 246 (Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 9): G457-G467, 1984 and A. Saluja et al. Am. J. Physiol. 249 (Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 12): G702-G710, 1985]. The current studies were performed to further elucidate these phenomena at the electron microscopic level of resolution and employed the techniques of pulse labeling, radioautography, and immunolocalization. Rats were infused with caerulein (5 μg·kg-1·h-1) for 1 h, given a pulse of [3H]phenylalanine, and killed at selected times during the subsequent 5- to 180-min postpulse period during which caerulein infusion was continued. Transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi cisternae was not altered by supramaximal stimulation, but transport through post-Golgi elements was altered. In particular, the maturation of condensing vacuoles into zymogen granules was found to be impaired. This led to the accumulation of partially condensed vacuoles and to the development of the large vacuoles containing newly synthesized digestive zymogens as well as the lysosomal hydrolase cathepsin D. The source of the latter could be impaired sorting of lysosomal and digestive enzymes and/or fusion of vacuoles with lysosomes. At the later times after pulse labeling, mature zymogen granules were also found to fuse with these large cathepsin D-containing vacuoles by a process analogous to crinophagy. Thus these studies indicate that the large heterogeneous vacuoles that appear during supramaximal secretagogue stimulation and that contain admixed digestive zymogens and lysosomal hydrolases arise by at least two mechanisms, impaired condensing vacuole maturation and crinophagy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16/4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Intracellular transport of pancreatic zymogens during caerulein supramaximal stimulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this