[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although females suffer twice as much as males from stress-related disorders, sex-specific participating and pathogenic cellular stress mechanisms remain uncharacterized. Using corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2-deficient (Crhr2(-/-)) and wild-type (WT) mice, we show that CRF receptor type 2 (CRF2) and its high-affinity ligand, urocortin 1 (Ucn1), are key mediators of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response in a murine model of acute pancreatic inflammation. Ucn1 was expressed de novo in acinar cells of male, but not female WT mice during acute inflammation. Upon insult, acinar Ucn1 induction was markedly attenuated in male but not female Crhr2(-/-) mice. Crhr2(-/-) mice of both sexes show exacerbated acinar cell inflammation and necrosis. Electron microscopy showed mild ER damage in WT male mice and markedly distorted ER structure in Crhr2(-/-) male mice during pancreatitis. WT and Crhr2(-/-) female mice showed similarly distorted ER ultrastructure that was less severe than distortion seen in Crhr2(-/-) male mice. Damage in ER structure was accompanied by increased ubiquitination, peIF2, and mis-targeted localization of vimentin in WT mice that was further exacerbated in Crhr2(-/-) mice of both sexes during pancreatitis. Exogenous Ucn1 rescued many aspects of histological damage and cellular stress response, including restoration of ER structure in male WT and Crhr2(-/-) mice, but not in females. Instead, females often showed increased damage. Thus, specific cellular pathways involved in coping and resolution seem to be distinct to each sex. Our results demonstrate the importance of identifying sex-specific pathogenic mechanisms and their value in designing effective therapeutics.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a devastating disease characterized by persistent and uncontrolled abdominal pain. Our lack of understanding is partially due to the lack of experimental models that mimic the human disease, and also to the lack of validated behavioral measures of visceral pain. The ligand-gated cation channel TRPA1 mediates inflammation and pain in early experimental pancreatitis. It is unknown if TRPA1 causes fibrosis and sustained pancreatic pain. We induced CP by injecting the chemical agent trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS), which causes severe acute pancreatitis, into the pancreatic duct of C57Bl6, trpa1(+/+) and trpa1(-/-) mice. Chronic inflammatory changes and pain behaviors were assessed after 2-3 weeks. TNBS injection caused marked pancreatic fibrosis with increased collagen staining intensity, atrophy, fatty replacement, monocyte infiltration, and pancreatic stellate cell activation and these changes were reflected by increased histological damage scores. TNBS injected animals had mechanical hypersensitivity during Von Frey filament (VFF) probing of the abdomen, decreased daily voluntary running wheel activity, increased immobility scores during open field testing. Pancreatic TNBS also reduced the threshold to hind paw withdrawal to VFF probing, suggesting central sensitization. Both inflammatory changes and pain indices were significantly reduced in trpa1(-/-) mice. In conclusion, we have characterized in mice a model of CP that resembles the human condition, with marked histological changes and behavioral measures of pain. We have demonstrated, using novel and objective pain measurements, that TRPA1 mediates inflammation and visceral hypersensitivity in CP and could be a therapeutic target for the treatment of sustained inflammatory abdominal pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enteritis caused by Clostridium difficile toxin (Tx) is a nosocomial disease of increasing clinical concern, but the local mediators of C. difficile TxA inflammation are unknown. The potent vasodilator calcitonin gene-related peptide mediates neurogenic inflammation via the calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CLR). Here we examined the ileum-specific effects of reducing CLR on TxA ileitis by local preinjection of double-stranded RNAs. Treatment with CLR dsRNA for 7 d decreased CLR immunoreactivity, whereas treatment with non-CLR dsRNA did not. Subsequent injection of TxA in the same location increased CLR in rats treated with non-CLR dsRNA but not in rats treated with CLR dsRNA, documenting that local injection of dsRNA is effective in preventing the increase in CLR immunoreactivity in response to local TxA. After non-CLR dsRNA pretreatment, TxA induced robust intestinal secretion, myeloperoxidase activity, and histopathologic indications of inflammation including epithelial damage, congestion, neutrophil infiltration, loss of mucin from goblet cells, and increase in mast cell numbers. After CLR dsRNA pretreatment, TxA-induced changes in intestinal secretion and histopathologic inflammation were improved, including normal mucin staining and fewer resident mast cells. Loss of CLR prevented TxA-mediated activation of NF-κB and concomitant increases in pERK1/2 and TNF-α mRNA. Locally produced CLR plays a proinflammatory role in TxA ileitis via MAPK signaling and TNF-α. The results reported here strongly suggest that a local injection of dsRNA targeting CLR could be an effective local therapeutic approach at the inflammation site in the treatment of a growing, clinically relevant hospital-acquired disease, C. difficile infection.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cathepsins regulate premature trypsinogen activation within acinar cells, a key initial step in pancreatitis. The identity, origin, and causative roles of activated cathepsins in pancreatic inflammation and pain are not defined. By using a near infrared-labeled activity-based probe (GB123) that covalently modifies active cathepsins, we localized and identified activated cathepsins in mice with cerulein-induced pancreatitis and in pancreatic juice from patients with chronic pancreatitis. We used inhibitors of activated cathepsins to define their causative role in pancreatic inflammation and pain. After GB123 administration to mice with pancreatitis, reflectance and confocal imaging showed significant accumulation of the probe in inflamed pancreas compared with controls, particularly in acinar cells and macrophages, and in spinal cord microglia and neurons. Biochemical analysis of pancreatic extracts identified them as cathepsins B, L, and S (Cat-B, Cat-L, and Cat-S, respectively). These active cathepsins were also identified in pancreatic juice from patients with chronic pancreatitis undergoing an endoscopic procedure for the treatment of pain, indicating cathepsin secretion. The cathepsin inhibitor K11777 suppressed cerulein-induced activation of Cat-B, Cat-L, and Cat-S in the pancreas and ameliorated pancreatic inflammation, nocifensive behavior, and activation of spinal nociceptive neurons. Thus pancreatitis is associated with an increase in the active forms of the proteases Cat-B, Cat-L, and Cat-S in pancreatic acinar cells and macrophages, and in spinal neurons and microglial cells. Inhibition of cathepsin activation ameliorated pancreatic inflammation and pain. Activity-based probes permit identification of proteases that are predictive biomarkers of disease progression and response to therapy and may be useful noninvasive tools for the detection of pancreatic inflammation.
Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity increases severity of acute pancreatitis (AP) by unclear mechanisms. We investigated the effect of the PPAR-gamma agonist rosiglitazone (RGZ, 0.01% in the diet) on severity of AP induced by administration of IL-12+ IL-18 in male C57BL6 mice fed a low fat (LFD) or high fat diet (HFD), under the hypothesis that RGZ would reduce disease severity in HFD-fed obese animals. In both LFD and HFD mice without AP, RGZ significantly increased body weight and % fat mass, with significant upregulation of adiponectin and suppression of erythropoiesis. In HFD mice with AP, RGZ significantly increased survival and hastened recovery from pancreatic inflammation, as evaluated by significantly improved pancreatic histology, reduced saponification of visceral adipose tissue and less severe suppression of erythropoiesis at Day 7 post-AP. This was associated with significantly lower circulating and pancreas-associated levels of IL-6, Galectin-3, osteopontin and TIMP-1 in HFD + RGZ mice, particularly at Day 7 post-AP. In LFD mice with AP, RGZ significantly worsened the degree of intrapancreatic acinar and fat necrosis as well as visceral fat saponification, without affecting other parameters of disease severity or inflammation. Induction of AP lead to major suppression of adiponectin levels at Day 7 in both HFD and HFD + RGZ mice. In conclusion, RGZ prevents development of severe AP in obese mice even though it significantly increases adiposity, indicating that obesity can be dissociated from AP severity by improving the metabolic and inflammatory milieu. However, RGZ worsens selective parameters of AP severity in LFD mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) exerts its diverse effects on vasodilation, nociception, secretion, and motor function through a heterodimeric receptor comprising of calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CLR) and receptor activity-modifying protein 1 (RAMP1). Despite the importance of CLR·RAMP1 in human disease, little is known about its distribution in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where it participates in inflammation and pain. In this study, we determined that CLR and RAMP1 mRNAs are expressed in normal human stomach, ileum and colon by RT-PCR. We next characterized antibodies that we generated to rat CLR and RAMP1 in transfected HEK cells. Having characterized these antibodies in vitro, we then localized CLR-, RAMP1-, CGRP- and intermedin-immunoreactivity (IMD-IR) in various human GI segments. In the stomach, nerve bundles in the myenteric plexus and nerve fibers throughout the circular and longitudinal muscle had prominent CLR-IR. In the proximal colon and ileum, CLR was found in nerve varicosities of the myenteric plexus and surrounding submucosal neurons. Interestingly, CGRP expressing fibers did not co-localize, but were in close proximity to CLR. However, CLR and RAMP1, the two subunits of a functional CGRP receptor were clearly localized in myenteric plexus, where they may form functional cell-surface receptors. IMD, another member of calcitonin peptide family was also found in close proximity to CLR, and like CGRP, did not co-localize with either CLR or RAMP1 receptors. Thus, CGRP and IMD appear to be released locally, where they can mediate their effect on their receptors regulating diverse functions such as inflammation, pain and motility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity increases severity of acute pancreatitis and risk of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatitis and obesity are associated with elevated IL-6, a cytokine involved in inflammation and tumorigenesis. We studied the role of IL-6 in the response of lean and obese mice to pancreatitis induced by IL-12 + IL-18. Lean and diet-induced obese (DIO) WT and IL-6 KO mice and ob/ob mice pretreated with anti-IL-6 antibodies were evaluated at Days 1, 7, and 15 after induction of pancreatitis. Prolonged elevation of IL-6 in serum and visceral adipose tissue was observed in DIO versus lean WT mice, whereas circulating sIL-6R declined in DIO but not lean mice with pancreatitis. The severe inflammation and lethality of DIO mice were also observed in IL-6 KO mice. However, the delayed resolution of neutrophil infiltration; sustained production of CXCL1, CXCL2, and CCL2; prolonged activation of STAT-3; and induction of MMP-7 in the pancreas, as well as heightened induction of serum amylase A of DIO mice, were blunted significantly in DIO IL-6 KO mice. In DIO mice, production of OPN and TIMP-1 was increased for a prolonged period, and this was mediated by IL-6 in the liver but not the pancreas. Results obtained in IL-6 KO mice were confirmed in ob/ob mice pretreated with anti-IL-6 antibodies. In conclusion, IL-6 does not contribute to the increased severity of pancreatitis of obese mice but participates in delayed recovery from acute inflammation and may favor development of a protumorigenic environment through prolonged activation of STAT-3, induction of MMP-7, and sustained production of chemokines.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of leukocyte biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transient receptor potential ankyrin (TRPA) 1, an excitatory ion channel expressed by sensory neurons, mediates somatic and visceral pain in response to direct activation or noxious mechanical stimulation. Although the intestine is routinely exposed to irritant alimentary compounds and inflammatory mediators that activate TRPA1, there is no direct evidence for functional TRPA1 receptors on enteric neurons, and the effects of TRPA1 activation on intestinal function have not been determined. We characterized expression of TRPA1 by enteric neurons and determined its involvement in the control of intestinal contractility and transit.
TRPA1 expression was characterized by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence analyses. TRPA1 function was examined by Ca(2+) imaging and by assays of contractile activity and transit.
We detected TRPA1 messenger RNA in the mouse intestine and TRPA1 immunoreactivity in enteric neurons. The cecum and colon had immunoreactivity for neuronal TRPA1, but the duodenum did not. TRPA1 immunoreactivity was also detected in inhibitory motoneurons and descending interneurons, cholinergic neurons, and intrinsic primary afferent neurons. TRPA1 activators, including cinnamaldehyde, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), and 4-hydroxynonenal, increased [Ca(2+)](i) in myenteric neurons. These were reduced by a TRPA1 antagonist (HC-030031) or deletion of Trpa1. TRPA1 activation inhibited contractility of the segments of colon but not stomach or small intestine of Trpa1(+/+) but not Trpa1(-/-) mice; this effect was reduced by tetrodotoxin or N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester. Administration of AITC by gavage did not alter gastric emptying or small intestinal transit, but luminal AITC inhibited colonic transit via TRPA1.
Functional TRPA1 is expressed by enteric neurons, and activation of neuronal TRPA1 inhibits spontaneous neurogenic contractions and transit of the colon.
No preview · Article · May 2011 · Gastroenterology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanisms of pancreatic pain, a cardinal symptom of pancreatitis, are unknown. Proinflammatory agents that activate transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in nociceptive neurons can cause neurogenic inflammation and pain. We report a major role for TRPV4, which detects osmotic pressure and arachidonic acid metabolites, and TRPA1, which responds to 4-hydroxynonenal and cyclopentenone prostaglandins, in pancreatic inflammation and pain in mice. Immunoreactive TRPV4 and TRPA1 were detected in pancreatic nerve fibers and in dorsal root ganglia neurons innervating the pancreas, which were identified by retrograde tracing. Agonists of TRPV4 and TRPA1 increased intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) in these neurons in culture, and neurons also responded to the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin and are thus nociceptors. Intraductal injection of TRPV4 and TRPA1 agonists increased c-Fos expression in spinal neurons, indicative of nociceptor activation, and intraductal TRPA1 agonists also caused pancreatic inflammation. The effects of TRPV4 and TRPA1 agonists on [Ca(2+)](i), pain and inflammation were markedly diminished or abolished in trpv4 and trpa1 knockout mice. The secretagogue cerulein induced pancreatitis, c-Fos expression in spinal neurons, and pain behavior in wild-type mice. Deletion of trpv4 or trpa1 suppressed c-Fos expression and pain behavior, and deletion of trpa1 attenuated pancreatitis. Thus TRPV4 and TRPA1 contribute to pancreatic pain, and TRPA1 also mediates pancreatic inflammation. Our results provide new information about the contributions of TRPV4 and TRPA1 to inflammatory pain and suggest that channel antagonists are an effective therapy for pancreatitis, when multiple proinflammatory agents are generated that can activate and sensitize these channels.