Modulation of pancreatic exocrine and endocrine secretion

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Recent advances in the regulation of pancreatic secretion by secretagogues, modulatory proteins and neural pathways are discussed.

Recent findings

Downstream events involved in secretagogue stimulation of pancreatic secretion have been elucidated through characterization of the Src kinase pathway. An additional mechanism regulating vagus nerve effects on the pancreas involves Group II and III metabotropic glutamate receptors that are located presynaptically on certain vagal pancreas-projecting neurons. Hypothalamic neurons perceive glucose and regulate insulin release by direct communication with islets, and activation of proopiomelanocortin neurons by leptin enhances insulin secretion and modulates glucose but not energy homeostasis. Ghrelin and somatostatin mediate glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by differential receptor signaling that is dependent on the amount of ghrelin and state of receptor heterodimerization. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and loss-of-function mutations of a key ER stress protein are associated with disruption of membrane translocation and reduction in insulin secretion. The importance of hormones, neuropeptides, amino acids, cytokines and regulatory proteins in pancreatic secretion and the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes are also discussed.

Summary

The biomolecular pathways regulating pancreatic secretions are still not fully understood. New secretagogues and mechanisms continue to be identified and this information will aid in drug discovery and development of new and improved therapy for pancreatic disorders.

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