Congo red modulates ACh-induced Ca2+ oscillations in single pancreatic acinar cells of mice

Ze Bing Huang, Hai Yan Wang, Na Na Sun, Jing Ke Wang, Meng Qin Zhao, Jian Xin Shen, Ming Gao, Ronald P. Hammer, Xue Gong Fan, Jie Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aim: Congo red, a secondary diazo dye, is usually used as an indicator for the presence of amyloid fibrils. Recent studies show that congo red exerts neuroprotective effects in a variety of models of neurodegenerative diseases. However, its pharmacological profile remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of congo red on ACh-induced Ca2+ oscillations in mouse pancreatic acinar cells in vitro. Methods: Acutely dissociated pancreatic acinar cells of mice were prepared. A U-tube drug application system was used to deliver drugs into the bath. Intracellular Ca2+ oscillations were monitored by whole-cell recording of Ca2+ -activated Cl- currents and by using confocal Ca2+ imaging. For intracellular drug application, the drug was added in pipette solution and diffused into cell after the whole-cell configuration was established. Results: Bath application of ACh (10 nmol/L) induced typical Ca2+ oscillations in dissociated pancreatic acinar cells. Addition of congo red (1, 10, 100 μmol/L) dose-dependently enhanced Ach-induced Ca2+ oscillations, but congo red alone did not induce any detectable response. Furthermore, this enhancement depended on the concentrations of ACh: congo red markedly enhanced the Ca2+ oscillations induced by ACh (10-30 nmol/L), but did not alter the Ca2+ oscillations induced by ACh (100-10000 nmol/L). Congo red also enhanced the Ca2+ oscillations induced by bath application of IP3 (30 μmol/L). Intracellular application of congo red failed to alter ACh-induced Ca2+ oscillations. Conclusion: Congo red significantly modulates intracellular Ca2+ signaling in pancreatic acinar cells, and this pharmacological effect should be fully considered when developing congo red as a novel therapeutic drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1514-1520
Number of pages7
JournalActa Pharmacologica Sinica
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 24 2014


  • ACh; IP; Ca oscillation; whole-cell recording; Ca image
  • Congo red
  • pancreatic acinar cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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