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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Aug;291(2):G238-45. Epub 2006 Mar 30.

Early activation of endoplasmic reticulum stress is associated with arginine-induced acute pancreatitis.

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Department of Cancer Biology, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77230-1429, USA.


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress mechanisms have been found to play critical roles in a number of diseases states, such as diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer disease, but whether they are involved in acute pancreatitis is unknown. Here we show for the first time that all major ER stress sensing and signaling mechanisms are present in exocrine acini and are activated early in the arginine model of experimental acute pancreatitis. Pancreatitis was induced in rats by intraperitoneal injection of 4.0 g/kg body wt arginine. Pancreatitis severity was assessed by analysis of serum amylase, pancreatic trypsin activity, water content, and histology. ER stress-related molecules PERK, eIF2alpha, ATF6, XBP-1, BiP, CHOP, and caspase-12 were analyzed. Arginine treatment induced rapid and severe pancreatitis, as indicated by increased serum amylase, pancreatic tissue edema, and acinar cell damage within 4 h. Arginine treatment also caused an early activation of ER stress, as indicated by phosphorylation of PERK and its downstream target eIF2alpha, ATF6 translocation into the nucleus (within 1 h), and upregulation of BiP (within 4 h). XBP-1 splicing and CHOP expression were observed within 8 h. After 24 h, increased activation of the ER stress-related proapoptotic molecule caspase-12 was observed along with an increase in caspase-3 activity and TdT (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase)-mediated dUDP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining in exocrine acini. These results indicate that ER stress is an important early acinar cell event that likely contributes to the development of acute pancreatitis in the arginine model.

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