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Potassium channels in pancreatic duct epithelial cells: their role, function and pathophysiological relevance

Lookup NU author(s): Viktoria Venglovecz, Dr Zoltan Rakonczay, Dr Michael Gray


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Pancreatic ductal epithelial cells play a fundamental role in HCO3 (-) secretion, a process which is essential for maintaining the integrity of the pancreas. Although several studies have implicated impaired HCO3 (-) and fluid secretion as a triggering factor in the development of pancreatitis, the mechanism and regulation of HCO3 (-) secretion is still not completely understood. To date, most studies on the ion transporters that orchestrate ductal HCO3 (-) secretion have focussed on the role of Cl-/HCO3 (-) exchangers and Cl- channels, whereas much less is known about the role of K+ channels. However, there is growing evidence that many types of K+ channels are present in ductal cells where they have an essential role in establishing and maintaining the electrochemical driving force for anion secretion. For this reason, strategies that increase K+ channel function may help to restore impaired HCO3 (-) and fluid secretion, such as in pancreatitis, and therefore provide novel directions for future pancreatic therapy. In this review, our aims are to summarize the types of K+ channels found in pancreatic ductal cells and to discuss their individual roles in ductal HCO3 (-) secretion. We will also describe how K+ channels are involved in pathophysiological conditions and discuss how they could act as new molecular targets for the development of therapeutic approaches to treat pancreatic diseases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Venglovecz V, Rakonczay Z, Gray MA, Hegyi P

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

Year: 2015

Volume: 467

Issue: 4

Pages: 625-640

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 31/07/2014

Acceptance date: 18/07/2014

ISSN (print): 0031-6768

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2013

Publisher: SPRINGER


DOI: 10.1007/s00424-014-1585-0