The physiology and pathophysiology of pancreatic ductal secretion the background for clinicians

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)


The human exocrine pancreas consists of 2 main cell types: acinar and ductal cells. These exocrine cells interact closely to contribute to the secretion of pancreatic juice. The most important ion in terms of the pancreatic ductal secretion is HCO3-. In fact, duct cells produce an alkaline fluid that may contain up to 140 mM NaHCO3-, which is essential for normal digestion. This article provides an overviewof the basics of pancreatic ductal physiology and pathophysiology. In the first part of the article, we discuss the ductal electrolyte and fluid transporters and their regulation. The central role of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is highlighted, which is much more than just a Cl-channel. We also review the role of pancreatic ducts in severe debilitating diseases such as cystic fibrosis (caused by various genetic defects of cftr), pancreatitis, and diabetes mellitus. Stimulation of ductal secretion in cystic fibrosis and pancreatitis may have beneficial effects in their treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1233
Number of pages23
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • CFTR
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Ductal secretion
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology

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