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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Nov 12;99(23):15072-7. Epub 2002 Oct 23.

Proliferative action of mast-cell tryptase is mediated by PAR2, COX2, prostaglandins, and PPARgamma : Possible relevance to human fibrotic disorders.

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  • 1Anatomisches Institut der Universität München, Universität München, Biedersteiner Strasse 29, Germany.


Mast-cell products can stimulate fibroblast proliferation, implying that these cells are key players in fibrosis. One mast-cell product, the serine protease tryptase, is known to activate protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) and cause proliferation of fibroblasts. We found that recombinant tryptase, human mast-cell (HMC-1) supernatant, which contains tryptase, and the PAR2-activating peptide SLIGKV exert fibroproliferative actions in human fibroblasts. Here we report insights into this action, which after activation of PAR2 leads to increased expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2), a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins, and consequently to enhanced prostaglandin synthesis. Subsequent cell proliferation is mediated by the prostaglandin 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2), which acts via the nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma). Fibroblast proliferation induced by tryptase and PAR2 agonist peptide can be blocked by antagonists of COX2 and PPARgamma, implying that the proliferative effect of tryptase is PAR2-initiated but depends on COX2, 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2), and PPARgamma. This previously uncharacterized pathway could be of relevance for human fibrotic diseases. For instance, increased numbers of activated mast cells are correlated with fibrosis in testes of infertile men. In these cases all components of the signaling pathway of tryptase were detected as well as expression of COX2. Therefore, our study describes as-yet-unknown interactions between mast cells and fibroblasts, which could be relevant for human fibrotic diseases.

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