Normal pancreatic function depends on the precise flow of calcium within and into the acinar cells of the organ. When food is eaten, low concentrations of the pancreas-stimulating hormone cholecystokinin or of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine cause brief, localized spikes in calcium concentration within the specialized cells. But sustained global elevations of Ca2+ concentration in these cells—caused by elevated hormone or neurotransmitter levels—spell trouble.
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