Serine proteases mediate inflammatory pain in acute pancreatitis

Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.
AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.8). 03/2011; 300(6):G1033-42. DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00305.2010
Source: PubMed


Acute pancreatitis is a life-threatening inflammatory disease characterized by abdominal pain of unknown etiology. Trypsin, a key mediator of pancreatitis, causes inflammation and pain by activating protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR(2)), but the isoforms of trypsin that cause pancreatitis and pancreatic pain are unknown. We hypothesized that human trypsin IV and rat P23, which activate PAR(2) and are resistant to pancreatic trypsin inhibitors, contribute to pancreatic inflammation and pain. Injections of a subinflammatory dose of exogenous trypsin increased c-Fos immunoreactivity, indicative of spinal nociceptive activation, but did not cause inflammation, as assessed by measuring serum amylase and myeloperoxidase activity and by histology. The same dose of trypsin IV and P23 increased some inflammatory end points and caused a more robust effect on nociception, which was blocked by melagatran, a trypsin inhibitor that also inhibits polypeptide-resistant trypsin isoforms. To determine the contribution of endogenous activation of trypsin and its minor isoforms, recombinant enterokinase (ENK), which activates trypsins in the duodenum, was administered into the pancreas. Intraductal ENK caused nociception and inflammation that were diminished by polypeptide inhibitors, including soybean trypsin inhibitor and a specific trypsin inhibitor (type I-P), and by melagatran. Finally, the secretagogue cerulein induced pancreatic nociceptive activation and nocifensive behavior that were reversed by melagatran. Thus trypsin and its minor isoforms mediate pancreatic pain and inflammation. In particular, the inhibitor-resistant isoforms trypsin IV and P23 may be important in mediating prolonged pancreatic inflammatory pain in pancreatitis. Our results suggest that inhibitors of these isoforms could be novel therapies for pancreatitis pain.

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    • "These agents included formalin , which can activate the TRPA1 ion channel on sensory nerves (McNamara et al., 2007), and bradykinin and a PAR2- selective activating peptide (PAR2-AP), which can activate GPCRs on sensory nerves (Vergnolle et al., 2001). We found that formalin, bradykinin and PAR2-AP activated proteases in paw tissues that were inhibited by the serine protease inhibitor , melagatran (Gustafsson et al., 1998), but not by soybean trypsin inhibitor (SBTI), consistent with activation of trypsin IV-like protease (Ceppa et al., 2011). In common with human trypsin IV, mouse trypsin 4 was inhibited by melagatran, degraded SBTI, and activated PAR2. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purpose: Although serine proteases and agonists of protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) cause inflammation and pain, the spectrum of proteases that are activated by proinflammatory and algesic stimuli and their contribution to inflammatory pain are uncertain. Experimental approach: Enzymic assays and selective inhibitors were used to characterize protease activity in mice after intraplantar injections of formalin, bradykinin, PAR2 activating peptide (AP) or vehicle. The capacity of these proteases and of recombinant mouse trypsin 4 to cleave fragments of PAR2 and to activate PAR2 in cell lines was determined. Protease inhibitors and par2 (-/-) mice were used to assess the contributions of proteases and PAR2 to pain and inflammation. Key results: Intraplantar injection of formalin, bradykinin or PAR2-AP led to the activation of proteases that were susceptible to the serine protease inhibitor melagatran but resistant to soybean trypsin inhibitor (SBTI). Melagatran inhibited mouse trypsin 4, which degraded SBTI. Proteases generated in inflamed tissues cleaved PAR2-derived peptides. These proteases and trypsin 4 increased [Ca(2+) ]i in PAR2-transfected but not in untransfected cells, and melagatran suppressed this activity. Melagatran or PAR2 deletion suppressed oedema and mechanical hypersensitivity induced by intraplantar formalin, bradykinin and PAR2-AP, but had no effect on capsaicin-induced pain. Conclusions and implications: Diverse proinflammatory and algesic agents activate melagatran-sensitive serine proteases that cause inflammation and pain by a PAR2-mediated mechanism. By inducing self-activating proteases, PAR2 amplifies and sustains inflammation and pain. Serine protease inhibitors can attenuate the inflammatory and algesic effects of diverse stimuli, representing a useful therapeutic strategy.
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    ABSTRACT: In a project to find novel neutral P1 fragments for the synthesis of thrombin inhibitors with improved pharmacokinetic properties, fragments containing a benzothiazole guanidine scaffold were identified as weak thrombin inhibitors. WaterLOGSY (Water-Ligand Observed via Gradient SpectroscopY) NMR was used to detect fragments binding to thrombin and these fragments were followed up by Biacore A100 affinity measurements and enzyme assays. A crystal structure of the most potent compound with thrombin was obtained and revealed an unexpected binding mode as well as the key interactions of the fragment with the protein. Based on these results, the structure-based design and synthesis of a small series of optimized novel substituted benzothiazole guanidines with comparatively low pK(a) values was accomplished. Testing of these compounds against human trypsin I and human trypsin IV revealed unexpected inhibitory activity and selectivity of some of the compounds, making them attractive starting points for selective trypsin inhibitors.
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