Article: article from journal or magazin.
Review (review): journal as complete as possible of one specific subject, written based on exhaustive analyses from published work.
Role of Connexins and Pannexins in the Pancreas.
Publication types: Journal ArticlePublication Status: ppublishDocument Type: Review
The pancreas produces enzymes with a digestive function and hormones with a metabolic function, which are produced by distinct cell types of acini and islets, respectively. Within these units, secretory cells coordinate their functioning by exchanging information via signals that flow in the intercellular spaces and are generated either at distance (several neural and hormonal inputs) or nearby the pancreatic cells themselves (inputs mediated by membrane ionic-specific channels and by ionic- and metabolite-permeant pannexin channels and connexin "hemichannels"). Pancreatic secretory cells further interact via the extracellular matrix of the pancreas (inputs mediated by integrins) and directly with neighboring cells, by mechanisms that do not require extracellular mediators (inputs mediated by gap and tight junction channels). Here, we review the expression and function of the connexins and pannexins that are expressed by the main secretory cells of the exocrine and endocrine pancreatic cells. Available data show that the patterns of expression of these proteins differ in acini and islets, supporting distinct functions in the physiological secretion of pancreatic enzymes and hormones. Circumstantial evidence further suggests that alterations in the signaling provided by these proteins are involved in pancreatic diseases.
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