Goblet cell degranulation in isolated canine tracheal epithelium: Response to exogenous ATP, ADP, and adenosine

C. W. Davis*, M. L. Dowell, M. Lethem, M. Van Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Mucin secretion by goblet cells was determined by quantifying degranulation events (DE) in isolated, superficial epithelium from canine trachea. The epithelium was isolated and explanted to a novel transparent, permeable support, and the goblet cells were visualized by video microscopy. Baseline degranulation events were quantified at 0.05 DE/min. Luminal ATP (10-4 M, n = 10) stimulated a biphasic secretory response; a burst, maximum rate = 87.9 ± 25.3, was followed by a plateau, rate = 1.9 ± 0.3 DE/min. Serosal ATP elicited a complex set of responses: 9 cells failed to respond, 13 exhibited a trivial response, and 31 responded vigorously but with highly variable patterns of degranulation. Nonhydrolyzable 5'- adenylylimidodiphosphate caused degranulation from both sides of the epithelium. Luminal ADP and adenosine were ineffective. Serosal ADP and adenosine elicited a range of responses that was similar in diversity and magnitude to the ATP response. Our conclusions were as follows: 1) goblet cells in the superficial epithelium of the airway can be studied at the single-cell level in explants; 2) nucleotides stimulate goblet cells to secrete mucin; and 3) the goblet cell expresses different nucleotide receptors on its apical and basolateral membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1313-C1323
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 31-5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • cell culture
  • exocytosis
  • mucin
  • nucleotide
  • purinergic
  • purinoceptor
  • secretion
  • video microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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