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Dextran sulfate sodium-induced murine colitis activates NF-kappaB and increases galanin-1 receptor expression.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Side Division, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Galanin is widely distributed in enteric nerve terminals and acts to modulate intestinal motility by altering smooth muscle contraction. This ligand causes Cl(-) secretion when colonic epithelial cells express the galanin-1 receptor (Gal1-R) subtype. Because Gal1-R expression by colonic epithelia is upregulated by the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), increasingly appreciated as critical in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease, we wondered whether the diarrhea associated with this condition could be due to NF-kappaB-mediated increases in Gal1-R expression. To test this hypothesis, we provided oral dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) to C57BL/6J mice. Although Gal1-R are not normally expressed by epithelial cells lining the mouse colon, DSS treatment resulted in increased NF-kappaB activation and Gal1-R expression. Whereas galanin had no effect on murine colonic tissues studied ex vivo, it progressively increased short-circuit current and colonic fluid secretion in DSS-treated mice. Concomitant parenteral administration of the NF-kappaB inhibitor dexamethasone attenuated the activation of this transcription factor by DSS, inhibiting the increase in Gal1-R expression. Although Gal1-R-specific antagonists do not exist, intracolonic administration of commercially available galanin antibody diminished the DSS-induced increase in colonic fluid accumulation. Overall, these data demonstrate that a significant component of the excessive fluid secretion observed in DSS-treated mice is due to increased Gal1-R expression.

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