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J Cell Mol Med. 2012 Jul;16(7):1582-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2011.01475.x.

Activation of neurokinin-1 receptors up-regulates substance P and neurokinin-1 receptor expression in murine pancreatic acinar cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Acute pancreatitis (AP) has been associated with an up-regulation of substance P (SP) and neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) in the pancreas. Increased SP-NK1R interaction was suggested to be pro-inflammatory during AP. Previously, we showed that caerulein treatment increased SP/NK1R expression in mouse pancreatic acinar cells, but the effect of SP treatment was not evaluated. Pancreatic acinar cells were obtained from pancreas of male swiss mice (25-30 g). We measured mRNA expression of preprotachykinin-A (PPTA) and NK1R following treatment of SP (10(-6) M). SP treatment increased PPTA and NK1R expression in isolated pancreatic acinar cells, which was abolished by pretreatment of a selective NK1R antagonist, CP96,345. SP also time dependently increased protein expression of NK1R. Treatment of cells with a specific NK1R agonist, GR73,632, up-regulated SP protein levels in the cells. Using previously established concentrations, pre-treatment of pancreatic acinar cells with Gö6976 (10 nM), rottlerin (5 μM), PD98059 (30 μM), SP600125 (30 μM) or Bay11-7082 (30 μM) significantly inhibited up-regulation of SP and NK1R. These observations suggested that the PKC-ERK/JNK-NF-κB pathway is necessary for the modulation of expression levels. In comparison, pre-treatment of CP96,345 reversed gene expression in SP-induced cells, but not in caerulein-treated cells. Overall, the findings in this study suggested a possible auto-regulatory mechanism of SP/NK1R expression in mouse pancreatic acinar cells, via activation of NK1R. Elevated SP levels during AP might increase the occurrence of a positive feedback loop that contributes to abnormally high expression of SP and NK1R.

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