Calcium oscillations in a triplet of pancreatic acinar cells

KT Tsaneva-Atanasova, DI Yule, J Sneyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


We use a mathematical model of calcium dynamics in pancreatic acinar cells to investigate calcium oscillations in a ring of three coupled cells. A connected group of cells is modeled in two different ways: 1), as coupled point oscillators, each oscillator being described by a spatially homogeneous model; and 2), as spatially distributed cells coupled along their common boundaries by gap-junctional diffusion of inositol trisphosphate and/or calcium. We show that, although the point-oscillator model gives a reasonably accurate general picture, the behavior of the spatially distributed cells cannot always be predicted from the simpler analysis; spatially distributed diffusion and cell geometry both play important roles in determining behavior. In particular, oscillations in which two cells are in synchrony, with the third phase-locked but not synchronous, appears to be more dominant in the spatially distributed model than in the point-oscillator model. In both types of model, intercellular coupling leads to a variety of synchronous, phase-locked, or asynchronous behaviors. For some parameter values there are multiple, simultaneous stable types of oscillation. We predict 1), that intercellular calcium diffusion is necessary and sufficient to coordinate the responses in neighboring cells; 2), that the function of intercellular inositol trisphosphate diffusion is to smooth out any concentration differences between the cells, thus making it easier for the diffusion of calcium to synchronize the oscillations; 3), that groups of coupled cells will tend to respond in a clumped manner, with groups of synchronized cells, rather than with regular phase-locked periodic intercellular waves; and 4), that enzyme secretion is maximized by the presence of a pacemaker cell in each cluster which drives the other cells at a frequency greater than their intrinsic frequency.
Translated title of the contributionCalcium oscillations in a triplet of pancreatic acinar cells
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535 - 1551
Number of pages17
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume88 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Biophysical Society

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