Local and global Ca2+ signals: physiology and pathophysiology
The pancreatic acinar unit is a classical example of a polarized tissue. Even in isolation, these cells retain their polarity, and this has made them particularly useful for Ca2+ signaling studies. In 1990, we discovered that this cell has the capability of producing both local cytosolic and global Ca2+ signals. The mechanisms underlying this signal generation have now been established. Furthermore, it has become clear that the local signals are sufficient for the control of both fluid and enzyme secretion, whereas prolonged global signals are dangerous and give rise to acute pancreatitis, a disease where the pancreas digests itself.