Primers on molecular pathways: Bicarbonate transport by the pancreas

Aleksandra Sindić, Caroline R. Sussman, Michael F. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pancreas has both endocrine and exocrine functions. As an endocrine organ, stimulation of the pancreatic β-cells results in insulin secretion to control systemic glucose levels. The exocrine function of the pancreas and the need for alkaline pancreatic secretion (pH 8.0-8.5) have been appreciated for more than 40 years. Yet, our knowledge of the cellular mechanisms (signaling, transporters and channels) which accomplish these critical functions has evolved greatly. In the mid-1990s, basolateral Na-bicarbonate (HCO 3-) uptake by NBCe1 (Slc4a4) was shown to be critical for the generation of approximately 75% of stimulated HCO3- secretion. In the last 10 years, several new HCO3- transporters in the Slc26 family and their interaction with the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator-chloride channel have elucidated the HCO3- exit step at the ductal lumen. Most recently, both IRBIT (inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor-binding protein) and WNK [with no lysine (K)] kinase have been implicated as additional HCO3 - secretory controllers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-663
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator
  • Pancreatic duct
  • SLC26 family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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