The pancreas, the salivary glands and the dental enamel producing ameloblasts have marked developmental,
structural and functional similarities. One of the most striking similarities is their bicarbonate-rich secretory
product, serving acid neutralization. An important difference between them is that while pancreatic juice and
saliva are delivered into a lumen where they can be collected and analyzed, ameloblasts produce locally precipitating
hydroxyapatite which cannot be easily studied. Interestingly, the ion and protein secretion by the pancreas,
the salivary glands, and maturation ameloblasts are all two-step processes, of course with significant differences
too. As they all have to defend against acid exposure by producing extremely large quantities of bicarbonate, the
failure of this function leads to deteriorating consequences. The aim of the present review is to describe and characterize
the defense mechanisms of the pancreas, the salivary glands and enamel-producing ameloblasts against
acid exposure and to compare their functional capabilities to do this by producing bicarbonate.
Keywords: Salivary gland, pancreas, acinar cell, ductal cell, dental enamel, ameloblast, bicarbonate, acid, defense.
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