Metallothionein is a component of exocrine pancreas secretion: implications for zinc homeostasis.


Using transgenic mice that overexpress metallothionein-I (MT-I) and zinc-induced normal and transgenic animals, we have explored the localization of MT in the pancreas. Light-level immunocytochemistry demonstrated MT in acinar cells but not islet cells. Immunolabeling also revealed the presence of MT in pancreatic ducts, suggesting that it is released from acinar cells. Ultrastructural immunolocalization showed that MT was cytoplasmic, and no MT immunoreactivity was detected in lumens of the vesicular secretory pathway. Secreted pancreatic juice was collected from pilocarpine-stimulated mice and assayed for MT by a 109Cd-labeled hemoglobin-exchange assay and by radioimmunoassay. Both methods revealed high (> 1,000 ng/ml) levels of MT in the stimulated secretion. The level of MT in pancreatic juice from transgenic mice was only slightly (2-fold) increased despite dramatic overexpression of MT-I in the pancreas (> 20-fold). In contrast, zinc induction of MT significantly increased MT by 5- to 10-fold in the pancreatic juice, in normal and transgenic mice. These data indicate that MT is released from pancreatic acinar cells but not by the classical vesicular secretory pathway. In addition, MT levels in pancreatic juice are regulated by zinc, suggesting a physiological role of the pancreas in metal homeostasis.

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@article{Lisle1996MetallothioneinIA, title={Metallothionein is a component of exocrine pancreas secretion: implications for zinc homeostasis.}, author={Robert C. De Lisle and Michael P . Sarras and Juan Hidalgo and Glen Andrews}, journal={The American journal of physiology}, year={1996}, volume={271 4 Pt 1}, pages={C1103-10} }