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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 May;296(5):G1012-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.90351.2008. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Substance P promotes expansion of human mesenteric preadipocytes through proliferative and antiapoptotic pathways.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal Neuropeptide Center, Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


White adipose tissue is intimately involved in the regulation of immunity and inflammation. We reported that human mesenteric preadipocytes express the substance P (SP)-mediated neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R), which signals proinflammatory responses. Here we tested the hypothesis that SP promotes proliferation and survival of human mesenteric preadipocytes and investigated responsible mechanism(s). Preadipocytes were isolated from mesenteric fat biopsies during gastric bypass surgery. Proliferative and antiapoptotic responses were delineated in 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS), bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), caspase-3, and TUNEL assays, as well as Western immunoanalysis. SP (10(-7) M) increased MTS and proliferation (BrdU) and time dependently (15-30 min) induced Akt, EGF receptor, IGF receptor, integrin alphaVbeta3, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and PKC-theta phosphorylation. Furthermore, pharmacological antagonism of Akt and PKC-theta activation significantly attenuated SP-induced preadipocyte proliferation. Exposure of preadipocytes to the proapoptotic Fas ligand (FasL, 100 microM) resulted in nuclear DNA fragmentation (TUNEL assay), as well as increased cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, cleaved caspase-7, and caspase-3 expression. Cotreatment with SP almost completely abolished these responses in a NK-1R-dependent fashion. SP (10(-7) M) also time dependently stimulated expression 4E binding protein 1 and phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase, which increased protein translation efficiency. SP increases preadipocyte viability, reduces apoptosis, and stimulates proliferation, possibly via cell cycle upregulation and increased protein translation efficiency. SP-induced proliferative and antiapoptotic pathways in fat depots may contribute to development of the creeping fat and inflammation characteristic of Crohn's disease.

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