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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jun 7;102(23):8363-8. Epub 2005 May 26.

A major role for proteolytic activity and proteinase-activated receptor-2 in the pathogenesis of infectious colitis.

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  • 1Proteinases and Inflammation Network, Mucosal Inflammation Research Group, Department of Pharmacology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1.


Citrobacter rodentium is a bacterial pathogen that causes a murine infectious colitis equivalent to enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli infection in humans. Colonic luminal fluid from C. rodentium-infected mice, but not from sham-infected mice, contains active serine proteinases that can activate proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2). We have identified granzyme A and murine trypsins to be present in C. rodentium-infected luminal fluid, as determined by mass spectrometry and Western blot analysis. Inflammatory indices (colonic mucosa macroscopic damage score, increased intestinal wall thickness, granulocyte infiltration, and bacterial translocation from the colonic lumen to peritoneal organs) were all increased in C. rodentium-infected mice, compared with sham-infected mice. Soybean trypsin inhibitor-treated wild-type mice and untreated PAR2-deficient (PAR2-/-) mice (compared with their wild-type littermates) both had substantially reduced levels of C. rodentium-induced inflammation. These data point to an important role for both pathogen-induced host serine proteinases and PAR2 in the setting of infectious colitis.

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