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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Mar;53(1):51-74.

Sensory nerves in central and peripheral control of pancreatic integrity by leptin and melatonin.

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Department of Physiology, University School of Medicine, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.


Central nervous system affects pancreatic secretion of enzymes however, the neural modulation of acute pancreatitis has not been investigated. Leptin and melatonin have been recently reported to affect the inflammatory response of various tissues. The identification of specific receptors for both peptides in the pancreas suggests that leptin and melatonin could contribute to the pancreatic protection against inflammation. The aim of this study was: 1/ to compare the effect of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) or intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of leptin or melatonin on the course of caerulein-induced pancreatitis (CIP) in the rat, 2/ to examine the involvement of sensory nerves (SN) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in pancreatic protection afforded by leptin or melatonin, 3/ to assess the effect of tested peptides on lipid peroxidation products (MDA + 4-HNE) in the pancreas of CIP rats, 4/ to investigate the influence of leptin or melatonin on nitric oxide (NO) release from isolated pancreatic acini and 5/ to determine the effects of caerulein and leptin on leptin receptor gene expression in these acini by RT-PCR. CIP was induced by subcutaneous (s.c.) infusion of caerulein (25 microg/kg) to the conscious rats, confirmed by the significant increases of pancreatic weight and plasma amylase and by histological examination. This was accompanied in marked reduction of pancreatic blood flow and significant rise of MDA + 4-HNE in the pancreas. Leptin or melatonin were administered i.p. or i.c.v. 30 min prior to the start of CIP. Deactivation of SN was produced by s.c. capsaicin (100 mg/kg). An antagonist of CGRP, CGRP 8-37 (100 microg/kg i.p.), was given together with leptin or melatonin to the CIP rats. MDA + 4-HNE was measured using LPO commercial kit. NO was determined using the Griess reaction. Pretreatment of CIP rats with i.p. leptin (2 or 10 microg/kg) or melatonin (10 or 50 mg/kg) significantly attenuated the severity of CIP. Similar protective effects were observed following i.c.v. application of leptin (0.4 or 2 microg/rat) but not melatonin (10 or 40 microg/rat) to the CIP rats. Capsaicin deactivation of SN oradministration of CGRP 8-37 abolished above beneficial effects of leptin on CIP, whereas melatonin-induced protection of pancreas was unaffected. Pretreatment with i.p. melatonin (10 or 50 mg/kg), but not leptin, significantly reduced MDA + 4-HNE in the pancreas of CIP rats. Leptin (10(-10) - 10(-6) M) but not melatonin (10(-8) - 10(-5) M) significantly stimulated NO release from isolated pancreatic acini. Leptin receptor gene expression in these acini was significantly increased by caerulein and leptin. We conclude that 1/ central or peripheral pretreatment with leptin protects the pancreas against its damage induced by CIP, whereas melatonin exerts its protective effect only when given i.p., but not following its i.c.v. adminstration, 2/ activation of leptin receptor in the pancreatic acini appears to be involved in the beneficial effects of leptin on acute pancreatitis, 3/ the protective effects of leptin involve sensory nerves, CGRP and increased generation of NO whereas melatonin-induced protection of the pancreas depends mainly on the antioxidant local effect of this indole, and scavenging of the radical oxygen species in the pancreatic tissue.

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