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This teaching article uses the report by Kwan et al., "Effects of methacholine, thapsigargin, and La3+ on plasmalemmal and intracellular Ca2+ transport in lacrimal acinar cells," where the effects of Ca2+-mobilizing agents in regulating Ca2+ fluxes were examined under various conditions. Upper-level undergraduate and new graduate students in physiology are the targe audience. Teaching and learning points are put forth in this article to illustrate 1) the characteristics of methacholine- and thapsigargin-induced Ca2+ responses, 2) the different endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ stores accessible to methacholine and thapsigargin, 3) the inhibitory effects of La3+ on Ca2+ extrusion and Ca2+ influx, and 4) the facilitatory role of La3+ on endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ recycling. Each of the above concepts is first explained with references to the figures adapted from the original article. A list of student learning questions then follows, where the answers are found in the teaching notes for the instructors. It is the objective of this article to make both teaching and learning Ca2+ regulation a rewarding experience for all.
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