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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Nov;295(5):G886-94. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00053.2008. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

PAR2 exerts local protection against acute pancreatitis via modulation of MAP kinase and MAP kinase phosphatase signaling.

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Dept. of Pharmacology, Yonsei Univ. College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.


During acute pancreatitis, protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) can be activated by interstitially released trypsin. In the mild form of pancreatitis, PAR2 activation exerts local protection against intrapancreatic damage, whereas, in the severe form of pancreatitis, PAR2 activation mediates some systemic complications. This study aimed to identify the molecular mechanisms of PAR2-mediated protective effects against intrapancreatic damage. A mild form of acute pancreatitis was induced by an intraperitoneal injection of caerulein (40 microg/kg) in rats. Effects of PAR2 activation on intrapancreatic damage and on mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling were assessed. Caerulein treatment activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) within 15 min and maintained phosphorylation of ERK and JNK for 2 h in the rat pancreas. Although PAR2 activation by the pretreatment with PAR2-activating peptide (AP) itself increased ERK phosphorylation in rat pancreas, the same treatment remarkably decreased caerulein-induced activation of ERK and JNK principally by accelerating their dephosphorylation. Inhibition of ERK and JNK phosphorylation by the pretreatment with MAP/ERK kinase (MEK) or JNK inhibitors decreased caerulein-induced pancreatic damage that was similar to the effect induced by PAR2-AP. Notably, in caerulein-treated rats, PAR2-AP cotreatment highly increased the expression of a group of MAP kinase phosphatases (MKPs) that deactivate ERK and JNK. The above results imply that downregulation of MAP kinase signaling by MKP induction is a key mechanism involved in the protective effects of PAR2 activation on caerulein-induced intrapancreatic damage.

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