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1.  Anti-monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 gene therapy attenuates experimental chronic pancreatitis induced by dibutyltin dichloride in rats 
Gut  2005;54(12):1759-1767.
Background: Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) is a member of the C-C chemokine family and exerts strong chemoattractant activity in monocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes. Rat pancreatic fibrosis induced by dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) is considered to be an appropriate chronic pancreatitis model histologically and enzymatically, as has demonstrated in a previous study.
Aim: We examined the effect of human dominant negative inhibitor of MCP-1 (mutant MCP-1) on progression of chronic pancreatitis induced by DBTC in a rat model.
Methods: We used the experimental model of chronic pancreatitis induced by DBTC in rats. Mutant MCP-1 or empty plasmid at a dose of 50 µg/body weight was administrated into rat thigh muscles on days 4, 11, and 18 after administration of DBTC. On days 14 and 28, we evaluated the effect of mutant MCP-1 morphologically and biochemically.
Results: The mutant MCP-1 treated group inhibited early pancreatic inflammation and later pancreatic fibrosis histologically, and showed a decrease in serum MCP-1 concentration, intrapancreatic hydroxyproline, α-smooth muscle actin, and an increase in intrapancreatic amylase and protein content compared with the empty plasmid treated group. The mutant MCP-1 group also inhibited intrapancreatic mRNA expression of cytokines and chemokines.
Conclusions: : Our findings suggest that monocyte/macrophage recruitment and the systemic MCP-1 signal pathway contribute to progression of chronic pancreatitis, and that blockade of MCP-1 may suppress the development of pancreatic fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC1774795  PMID: 16284287
anti-monocyte chemoattractant protein 1; gene therapy; chronic pancreatitis; dibutyltin dichloride; rats; C-C chemokine receptor; pancreatic fibrosis
2.  Ascorbic Acid Alleviates Pancreatic Damage Induced by Dibutyltin Dichloride (DBTC) in Rats 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2007;48(6):1028-1034.
Because previous studies have reported depleted antioxidant capacity in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP), prevention of free radical production has gained importance in antifibrotic treatment strategies for CP. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of ascorbic acid on oxidative capacity and pancreatic damage in experimental CP.
Materials and Methods
CP was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by infusion of dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) into the tail vein. Ascorbic acid was given intraperitoneally at a daily dose of 10 mg/kg body weight. The treatment groups were as follows: group 1, DBTC plus intraperitoneal physiologic saline; group 2, DBTC plus intraperitoneal ascorbic acid; group 3, solvent plus intraperitoneal physiologic saline; group 4, no operation plus intraperitoneal physiologic saline. Each group contained 15 animals. Treatment was started after CP was established. After 4 weeks of treatment, serum hyaluronic acid and laminin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay, pancreatic tissue oxidative stress was analyzed, and the degree of pancreatic damage was determined.
Ascorbic acid treatment markedly increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations in pancreatic tissue (p < 0.01 for both). Significant serum hyaluronic acid and laminin reductions were observed in group 2 as compared with group 1 (p < 0.05). However, the serum hyaluronic acid and laminin levels remained elevated when compared with those of groups 3 and 4 (p < 0.05). Histopathologic scores were also lower in animals with CP that underwent ascorbic acid-treatment (p < 0.05).
Ascorbic acid treatment alleviated the degree of oxidative stress and pancreatic damage in rat CP. Antioxidant treatment might be considered a potential option to improve the pathologic process in CP.
PMCID: PMC2628193  PMID: 18159597
Ascorbic acid; chronic pancreatitis; antioxidant; dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC)
3.  Treatment of Inflamed Pancreas with Enkephalin Encoding HSV-1 Recombinant Vector Reduces Inflammatory Damage and Behavioral Sequelae 
This study assessed the efficacy of pancreatic surface delivered enkephalin (ENK)-encoding herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) on spontaneous behaviors and spinal cord and pancreatic enkephalin expression in an experimental pancreatitis model. Replication-defective HSV-1 with proenkephalin complementary DNA (cDNA) (HSV-ENK) or control β-galactosidase cDNA (HSV-β-gal), or media vehicle (Veh) was applied to the pancreatic surface of rats with dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC)-induced pancreatitis. Spontaneous exploratory behavioral activity was monitored on days 0 and 6 post DBTC and vector treatments. The pancreas, thoracic dorsal root ganglia (DRG, T9-10), and spinal cord (T9-10) were immunostained for metenkephalin (met-ENK), β-gal, and HSV-1 proteins. Spinal cord was also immunostained for c-Fos, and pancreas was stained for the inflammatory marker regulated on activation, normal T-cells expressed and secreted (RANTES), mu-opioid receptor, and hemotoxylin/eosin. On day 6, compared to pancreatitis and vector controls, the DBTC/HSV-ENK treated rats had significantly improved spontaneous exploratory activities, increased met-ENK staining in the pancreas and spinal cord, and normalized c-Fos staining in the dorsal horn. Histopathology of pancreas in DBTC/HSV-ENK treated rats showed preservation of acinar cells and cytoarchitecture with minimal inflammatory cell infiltrates, compared to severe inflammation and acinar cell loss seen in DBTC/HSV-β-gal and DBTC/Veh treated rats. Targeted transgene delivery and met-ENK expression successfully produced decreased inflammation in experimental pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC2592562  PMID: 17565349
4.  Reversal of pancreatitis-induced pain by an orally available, small molecule interleukin-6 receptor antagonist 
Pain  2010;151(2):257-265.
Pancreatic pain resulting from chronic inflammation of the pancreas is often intractable and clinically difficult to manage with available analgesics reflecting the need for more effective therapies. Mechanisms underlying pancreatitis pain are not well understood. Here, the possibility that interleukin-6 (IL-6) may promote pancreatitis pain was investigated with TB-2-081 (3-O-formyl-20R,21-epoxyresibufogenin, EBRF), a small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist that was semi-synthetically derived from natural sources. The potential activity and mechanism of TB-2-081 was investigated following induction of persistent pancreatitis using dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) in rats. TB-2-081 displaces binding of IL-6 to the human recombinant soluble IL-6 receptor with apparent high affinity and inhibits IL-6 mediated cell growth. Systemic or oral, but not intrathecal, administration of TB-2-081 reversed DBTC-induced abdominal hypersensitivity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. IL-6 levels were significantly upregulated in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of rats with pancreatitis on day 6 after DBTC injection. IL-6 enhanced capsaicin-evoked release of calcitonin gene related peptide from cultured DRG neurons was blocked by TB-2-081. Our data demonstrate that TB-2-081 acts as a systemically available and orally active small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist. TB-2-081 effectively reduces pancreatitis-induced pain through peripheral mechanisms that are likely due to (a) increased expression of IL-6 in the DRG and (b) IL-6-mediated sensitization of nociceptive neurons. The activity of TB-2-081 implicates an important role for IL-6 in sustaining pancreatitis pain. Strategies targeting IL-6 actions through small molecule antagonists may offer novel approaches to improve therapy of chronic pancreatitis and other chronic pain states.
PMCID: PMC3313485  PMID: 20599324
5.  Dual Roles for Endothelin-B Receptors in Modulating Adjuvant-Induced Inflammatory Hyperalgesia in Rats 
The open pain journal  2009;2:30-40.
Injection of endothelin-1 (ET-1) into the plantar rat hindpaw causes acute pain at high concentrations and tactile sensitization at low concentrations. The pro-nociceptive actions are driven through ETA receptors for both levels of [ET-1], but the ETB receptors are only pro-nociceptive for allodynia from low [ET-1] and anti-nociceptive for pain from high [ET-1]. The goal of the present work was to discriminate the roles of the ET receptors in the acute hyperalgesia from inflammation by complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA, 20 mg/paw) into the rat hindpaw. Selective antagonists were injected l0 min before and then together with CFA. An ETA receptor antagonist, BQ-123, reduced CFA-induced thermal hyperalgesia (by up to 50%), as did an ETB receptor antagonist, BQ-788 (by up to 66%). BQ-123 and BQ-788 also delayed the onset (by 1.5 – 2 h) but insignificantly reduced the maximum degree of CFA-induced allodynia (~10%). Surprisingly, an ETB receptor agonist, IRL-1620, also reduced maximum thermal hyperalgesia induced by CFA, suppressed peak allodynia and delayed its occurrence by ~ 3 h. The latter actions of IRL-1620 were reversed by co-administration of BQ-788, naloxone hydrochloride and the peripherally restricted opiate receptor antagonist naloxone methiodide, and by antiserum against β-endorphin. These findings demonstrate an important role for endogenous ET-1 in acute inflammatory pain and a dual action of ETB receptors, including a pro-algesic action along with the important activation of a local analgesic pathway, implying that at least two different ETB receptors contribute to modulation of inflammatory pain.
PMCID: PMC2886510  PMID: 20559459
Inflammatory hyperalgesia; endothelin-1; pro-nociception; anti-nociception; allodynia; pain
6.  Potent anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity of the endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan in monoarthritic mice 
Endothelins are involved in tissue inflammation, pain, edema and cell migration. Our genome-wide microarray analysis revealed that endothelin-1 (ET-1) and endothelin-2 (ET-2) showed a marked up-regulation in dorsal root ganglia during the acute phase of arthritis. We therefore examined the effects of endothelin receptor antagonists on the development of arthritis and inflammatory pain in monoarthritic mice.
Gene expression was examined in lumbar dorsal root ganglia two days after induction of antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) using mRNA microarray analysis. Effects of drug treatment were determined by repeated assessment of joint swelling, pain-related behavior, and histopathological manifestations during AIA.
Daily oral administration of the mixed ETA and ETB endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan significantly attenuated knee joint swelling and inflammation to an extent that was comparable to dexamethasone. In addition, bosentan reduced inflammatory mechanical hyperalgesia. Chronic bosentan administration also inhibited joint swelling and protected against inflammation and joint destruction during AIA flare-up reactions. In contrast, the ETA-selective antagonist ambrisentan failed to promote any detectable antiinflammatory or antinociceptive activity.
Thus, the present study reveals a pivotal role for the endothelin system in the development of arthritis and arthritic pain. We show that endothelin receptor antagonists can effectively control inflammation, pain and joint destruction during the course of arthritis. Our findings suggest that the antiinflammatory and antinociceptive effects of bosentan are predominantly mediated via the ETB receptor.
PMCID: PMC3218912  PMID: 21689431
7.  Translocation of p21Cip1/WAF1 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm correlates with pancreatic myofibroblast to fibroblast cell conversion 
Gut  2005;54(6):814-822.
Background and aims: In the pancreas, myofibroblasts (MFBs) were shown to play an important role in the cellular response during inflammation and injury. However, there is only fragmentary information concerning the fate of these cells in pancreas regeneration and fibrosis development.
Methods: Explant cultures of rat pancreatic tissue were used as a model to follow cellular dynamics and phenotype conversion of pancreatic MFBs in vitro. For detailed biochemical analyses a pancreatic fibroblast cell line (long culture fibroblast (LCF)) was generated from MFBs in a long term culture. Cerulein induced acute pancreatitis and dibutyltin dichloride induced pancreas fibrosis were used as experimental models for acute and chronic fibrogenic reactions, respectively.
Results: In the explant culture, pancreatic MFBs which derived from fat storing fibroblastic cells underwent apoptosis or converted again to fibroblasts. The phenotype switch to fibroblasts was associated with translocation of p21Cip1/WAF1 from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. Molecular analyses in LCFs revealed subsequent binding to and inhibition of the activities of Rho kinase 2 and apoptosis signal regulating kinase 1. In the experimentally established pancreas fibrosis, fibroblasts with cytoplasmic expression of p21Cip1/WAF1 were distributed throughout fibrotic bands whereas in experimental acute pancreatitis MFBs with nuclear expression of p21Cip1/WAF1 dominated.
Conclusions: The results indicate that pancreatic MFBs are transient and suggest that intracellular localisation of p21Cip1/WAF1 can contribute to the phenotype conversion of these cells to fibroblasts in culture and experimental injury.
PMCID: PMC1774531  PMID: 15888791
pancreas; myofibroblast; p21Cip1/WAF1; fibrosis; explant culture
8.  A Novel Bidirectional Interaction between endothelin-3 and Retinoic Acid in Rat Enteric Nervous System Precursors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74311.
Signaling through the endothelin receptor B (EDNRB) is critical for the development of the enteric nervous system (ENS) and mutations in endothelin system genes cause Hirschsprung’s aganglionosis in humans. Penetrance of the disease is modulated by other genetic factors. Mutations affecting retinoic acid (RA) signaling also produce aganglionosis in mice. Thus, we hypothesized that RA and endothelin signaling pathways may interact in controlling development of the ENS.
Rat immunoselected ENS precursor cells were cultured with the EDNRB ligand endothelin-3, an EDNRB-selective antagonist (BQ-788), and/or RA for 3 or 14 days. mRNA levels of genes related to ENS development, RA- and EDNRB-signaling were measured at 3 days. Proliferating cells and cells expressing neuronal, glial, and myofibroblast markers were quantified.
Culture of isolated ENS precursors for 3 days with RA decreases expression of the endothelin-3 gene and that of its activation enzyme. These changes are associated with glial proliferation, a higher percentage of glia, and a lower percentage of neurons compared to cultures without RA. These changes are independent of EDNRB signaling. Conversely, EDNRB activation in these cultures decreases expression of RA receptors β and γ mRNA and affects the expression of the RA synthetic and degradative enzymes. These gene expression changes are associated with reduced glial proliferation and a lower percentage of glia in the culture. Over 14 days in the absence of EDNRB signaling, RA induces the formation of a heterocellular plexus replete with ganglia, glia and myofibroblasts.
A complex endothelin-RA interaction exists that coordinately regulates the development of rat ENS precursors in vitro. These results suggest that environmental RA may modulate the expression of aganglionosis in individuals with endothelin mutations.
PMCID: PMC3767828  PMID: 24040226
9.  Endothelin Mediates Some of the Renal Actions of Acutely Administered Angiotensin II 
Hypertension  2001;38(1):105-109.
Recent studies suggest that endogenous endothelin mediates much of the vasoconstrictor activity and vascular fibrotic damage caused by chronic administration of angiotensin II. The present study uses the mixed endothelin-A and endothelin-B receptor antagonist bosentan and the endothelin-A–selective blocker BQ-123 to study the contribution of endogenous endothelin to the pressor and renal action of acutely administered angiotensin II in conscious, chronically catheterized rats. Exposure to angiotensin II at 0.48 pmol 0.5 ng/100 g body weight per min IV (low dose) and 1.91 pmol 2.0 ng/100 g body weight per min IV (high dose) raised mean arterial blood pressure (18±4 mm Hg, P<0.01, and 39±4 mm Hg, P<0.005, respectively) while also increasing renal vascular resistance (4.3±1 mm Hg/mL per min, P<0.001, and 10±1 mm Hg/mL per min, P<0.001, respectively). In the presence of bosentan, pressor and renal vasoconstrictor responses to low-dose angiotensin II were blunted (P<0.02 and P<0.01, respectively), and the results with BQ-123 were similar. In contrast, these parameters were unaffected during high-dose angiotensin II infusion+bosentan, although BQ-123 did selectively reduce the rise in renal vascular resistance, possibly via an endothelin B–mediated nitric oxide effect. In contrast, high-dose angiotensin II caused natriuretic and diuretic effects that were completely prevented by bosentan. These results show that endothelin (via endothelin A) contributes to the pressor and renal vasoconstrictor actions of acutely administered low-dose angiotensin II. Furthermore, our data suggest that the previously described angiotensin II–induced natriuresis and diuresis observed with a high pressor dose of angiotensin II is mediated by endothelin.
PMCID: PMC2745261  PMID: 11463769
vascular resistance; glomerular filtration rate; natriuresis; rats; angiotensin II
Hypertension  2010;56(2):282-289.
Experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that endothelin and/or reactive oxygen species contribute to the pressor response induced by acute air jet stress in normotensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats maintained on a normal salt diet (pre-hypertensive). Mean arterial pressure was chronically monitored by telemetry before and after 3-day treatment with the free radical scavenger, 4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl piperidinoxyl (tempol), or endothelin receptor antagonists, ABT-627 (ETA antagonist) or A-182086 (ETA/B antagonist), supplied in the drinking water. Rats were restrained and subjected to pulsatile air jet stress (3 minutes). Plasma samples at baseline and during acute stress were analyzed for 8-isoprostane (measure of reactive oxygen species production) and endothelin. Neither tempol nor endothelin receptor antagonist treatment had an effect on baseline mean arterial pressure or plasma 8-isoprostane. The pressor response to acute stress was accompanied by significant increases in plasma 8-isoprostane and endothelin. Tempol significantly reduced both the total pressor response (area under the curve) and the stress-mediated increase in plasma 8-isoprostane; conversely, tempol had no effect on the stress-induced increase in plasma endothelin. Combined ETA/B antagonism, but not selective ETA receptor blockade, similarly suppressed the pressor response to stress and stress-mediated rise in 8-isoprostane. Together, these results indicate that reactive oxygen species contribute to the pressor response to acute air jet stress. Furthermore, the increase in reactive oxygen species occurs downstream of ET receptor activation.
PMCID: PMC2921634  PMID: 20547970
endothelin; reactive oxygen species; air jet stress; Dahl salt-sensitive rat; blood pressure
11.  Endothelin is an important determinant of renal function in a rat model of acute liver and renal failure 
Gut  2002;50(1):111-117.
Background and aims: Renal failure occurs in approximately 55% of patients with acute liver failure. We have previously shown that plasma endothelin 1 concentrations are elevated in patients with acute liver failure and the hepatorenal syndrome. There are few reported satisfactory animal models of liver failure together with functional renal failure. In this study, a rat model of acute liver failure induced by galactosamine that also develops renal failure was first characterised. This model was used to investigate the hypothesis that endothelin 1 is an important mediator involved in the pathogenesis of renal impairment that occurs in acute liver failure.
Methods: Acute liver failure was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by intraperitoneal injection of galactosamine together with treatment with the endothelin receptor antagonist Bosentan. Twenty four hour urine collections were made using a metabolic cage. Renal blood flow was measured in anaesthetised animals.
Results: This model developed renal failure and liver failure in the absence of any significant renal pathology, and with an accompanying fall in renal blood flow. Plasma concentrations of endothelin 1 were increased twofold following the onset of liver and renal failure (p<0.05), and there was significant upregulation of the endothelin receptor A (ETA) in the renal cortex (p<0.05). Administration of Bosentan prevented the development of renal failure when given before or 24 hours after the onset of liver injury (p<0.05) but had no effect on liver injury itself, or on renal blood flow.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that this animal model has many of the features needed to be regarded as a model of renal failure that occurs in acute liver failure. The observation that plasma levels of endothelin 1 and ETA receptors are increased and upregulated, and that renal failure is prevented by an endothelin antagonist supports the hypothesis originally put forward that ETA is important in the pathogenesis of renal failure that occurs in patients with acute liver failure.
PMCID: PMC1773076  PMID: 11772977
galactosamine; acute liver injury; renal failure; endothelin 1; hepatorenal syndrome; Bosentan
12.  Endothelin and platelet-activating factor: Significance in the pathophysiology of ischemia/reperfusion-induced fetal growth restriction in the rat 
The objective of the study was to evaluate the role of endothelin-1 and platelet-activating factor in ischemia/reperfusion-induced fetal growth restriction in the rat.
Study design
On day 17 of gestation, the right uterine and ovarian arteries were occluded for 30 minutes in experimental but not sham-operated rats. All rats received endothelin receptor A antagonist, A-127722 (10 mg/kg per day), platelet-activating factor antagonist, WEB-2086 (1 mg/kg), or vehicle. On gestational day 21, litter size, fetal viability, and fetal and placental weights were recorded. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction for phospholipase A2-IIA and preproendothelin-1 messenger ribonucleic acid was performed on uterus and placentas from each uterine horn. Groups were compared statistically by analysis of variance.
Ischemia/reperfusion reduced fetal weights, in both the ischemic horn and the nonischemic horn (P < .001). Antagonism of either endothelin receptor A or platelet-activating factor normalized fetal growth in both horns. Neither placental weight nor the incidence of fetal demise was affected by ischemia/reperfusion. Phospholipase A2-IIA and preproendothelin-1 messenger ribonucleic acid expression did not differ between right and left uterine horns in any group. Uterine and placental tissues in the ischemia/reperfusion group exhibited increased phospholipase A2-IIA (P < .01) but not preproendothelin-1.
Endothelin-1 and platelet-activating factor are both important mediators in the pathophysiology of ischemia/reperfusion-induced fetal growth restriction in the rat, contributing to the fetal growth restriction observed in both the ischemic and nonischemic horns. Antagonism of either mediator produces normal fetal growth in this model of fetal growth restriction.
PMCID: PMC1483125  PMID: 16579936
Endothelin; Platelet-activating factor; Ischemia/reperfusion; Fetal growth restriction; Rat
13.  Role of endothelin receptor signalling in squamous cell carcinoma 
International Journal of Oncology  2011;40(4):1011-1019.
Endothelin plays important roles in various physiological functions including vascular constriction. Recent studies reported that the endothelin receptors ETA and ETB are highly expressed in lung and skin tumor tissues. In contrast, there are few reports on endothelin signalling in the proliferation of head and neck cancer. We found that both ETA and ETB endothelin receptors were overexpressed in tumor cells of tongue cancer samples by immunohistochemistry. ETA and ETB were expressed in cultured lingual and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCCs) cell lines. When both cultured cell lines were treated with an ETA selective antagonist (BQ123) or an ETB selective antagonist (BQ788), inhibition of cell growth was observed. Similar results were observed when SCCs were treated with specific siRNA for the suppression of ETA or ETB. Furthermore, inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway by the treatments with ET receptor antagonists and siRNA was also observed. These results indicate that endothelin signalling may, in part, play important roles in cell growth in SCCs through the MAP kinase pathway.
PMCID: PMC3584554  PMID: 22075705
squamous cell carcinoma; tongue; cellular proliferation; endothelin receptor; MAP kinase signaling pathway
14.  Cannabinoid HU210 Protects Isolated Rat Stomach against Impairment Caused by Serum of Rats with Experimental Acute Pancreatitis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52921.
Acute pancreatitis (AP), especially severe acute pancreatitis often causes extra-pancreatic complications, such as acute gastrointestinal mucosal lesion (AGML) which is accompanied by a considerably high mortality, yet the pathogenesis of AP-induced AGML is still not fully understood. In this report, we investigated the alterations of serum components and gastric endocrine and exocrine functions in rats with experimental acute pancreatitis, and studied the possible contributions of these alterations in the pathogenesis of AGML. In addition, we explored the intervention effects of cannabinoid receptor agonist HU210 and antagonist AM251 on isolated and serum-perfused rat stomach. Our results showed that the AGML occurred after 5 h of AP replication, and the body homeostasis was disturbed in AP rat, with increased levels of pancreatic enzymes, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), proinflammtory cytokines and chemokines in the blood, and an imbalance of the gastric secretion function. Perfusing the isolated rat stomach with the AP rat serum caused morphological changes in the stomach, accompanied with a significant increment of pepsin and [H+] release, and increased gastrin and decreased somatostatin secretion. HU210 reversed the AP-serum-induced rat pathological alterations, including the reversal of transformation of the gastric morphology to certain degree. The results from this study prove that the inflammatory responses and the imbalance of the gastric secretion during the development of AP are responsible for the pathogenesis of AGML, and suggest the therapeutic potential of HU210 for AGML associated with acute pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC3532296  PMID: 23285225
Pancreas  2008;36(4):402-410.
The pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP) family of genes is induced in acute pancreatitis. We have previously demonstrated that antisense mediated gene knockdown of PAP in vivo decreased PAP gene expression and worsened pancreatitis. Here we investigated the effect of a more stable inhibition of PAP using siRNA gene knockdown in vitro and in an in vivo model of experimental pancreatitis.
In vitro, pancreatic acinar cell line, AR42J, was cultured with Dexamethasone and IL6 (Dex/IL6) to induce expression of PAP with subsequent transfection of siRNA into stimulated AR42J cells. In vivo, acute pancreatitis was induced in Sprague Dawley rats by retrograde infusion of 4% sodium taurocholate (NaT) into the pancreatic duct. PAP-specific siRNA was subsequently administrated, subcapsularly, after infusion of NaT. Controls included administration of scrambled siRNA (SC-RNA) or vehicle alone. After 24hr, pancreata were harvested and assessed for worsening pancreatitis by histopathology; serum was analyzed for PAP, amylase, lipase and cytokines protein levels. In both models endogenous PAP (PAPI, PAPII, PAPIII) gene expression was assessed at 24 hrs using real time RT-PCR.
In vitro, PAP isoform (PAPI, PAPII, PAPIII) protein and mRNA levels were reduced (PAPI: 76%, PAPII: 8%, PAPIII: 24%) in cells treated with PAP siRNA when compared with control treatment. In vivo, induction of pancreatitis was confirmed by histopathology, serum amylase and lipase levels. PAP isoforms I and III expression were reduced (PAPI: 36%, PAPIII: 66%) in siRNA treated rats, compared with controls; there was no difference in PAP II isoform mRNA expression and serum protein levels. Serum amylase levels decreased after administration of siRNA compared with vehicle control (1583 ±312.U/L vs. 3013±317 U/L; p<0.05). In addition, serum lipase levels decreased after administration of PAP siRNA compared with vehicle control (162 ±42 U/L vs. 478±125 U/L; p<0.05). Serum levels of IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-6 increased (20%, 96.9%, 118%, respectively) while CRP and TNFα decreased (18.8%, and 13.7%, respectively) when compared with vehicle control. Administration of PAP siRNA correlated with worsening leukocytic infiltration and necrosis but not edema.
siRNA mediated gene knockdown of PAP appeared to worsen pancreatitis severity but demonstrated some different effects when compared to antisense gene knockdown in certain instances. This observed difference may be due to the inhibition profile discrepancy between two knockdown methods and/or different mechanisms of action for siRNA compared with antisense technology.
PMCID: PMC3151650  PMID: 18437087
pancreatitis associated proteins; PAP; pancreatitis; sodium taurocholate; AR42J; SiRNA; antisense; gene knockdown; cytokines; severity; in vivo
16.  Autocrine endothelin-3/endothelin receptor B signaling maintains cellular and molecular properties of glioblastoma stem cells 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;9(12):1668-1685.
Glioblastoma stem cells (GSC) express both radial glial cell (RGC) and neural crest cell (NCC)-associated genes. We report that endothelin 3 (EDN3), an essential mitogen for NCC development and migration, is highly produced by GSC. Serum-induced proliferative differentiation rapidly decreased EDN3 production and downregulated the expression of stemness-associated genes, and reciprocally, two glioblastoma markers, EDN1 and YKL-40 transcripts, were induced. Correspondingly, patient glioblastoma tissues express low levels of EDN3 mRNA and high levels of EDN1 and YKL-40 mRNA. Blocking EDN3/endothelin receptor B (EDNRB) signaling by an EDNRB antagonist (BQ788), or EDN3 RNA interference (siRNA), leads to cell apoptosis and functional impairment of tumor-sphere formation and cell spreading/migration in culture, and loss of tumorigenic capacity in animals. Using exogenous EDN3 as the sole mitogen in culture does not support GSC propagation, but can rescue GSC from undergoing cell apoptosis. Molecular analysis by gene expression profiling revealed that most genes downregulated by EDN3/EDNRB blockade were those involved in cytoskeleton organization, pause of growth and differentiation, and DNA damage response, implicating the involvement of EDN3/EDNRB signaling in maintaining GSC migration, undifferentiation, and survival. These data suggest that autocrine EDN3/EDNRB signaling is essential for maintaining GSC. Incorporating END3/EDNRB-targeted therapies into conventional cancer treatments may have clinical implication for the prevention of tumor recurrence.
PMCID: PMC3245317  PMID: 22013079
Glioblastoma; cancer stem cells; endothelin 3; radial glial cells; neural crest cells; neural stem cells
17.  Effect of endothelin and endothelin receptor blockade on capillary permeability in experimental pancreatitis 
Gut  2000;46(3):390-394.
BACKGROUND—Capillary leakage with fluid loss into the third space contributes to many of the early systemic complications in severe acute pancreatitis. There has been increasing interest in endothelin as one of the factors affecting capillary permeability.
AIM—To elucidate further the role of endothelin in the development of capillary leakage in acute pancreatitis by investigating the effect of exogenous endothelin administration and endothelin receptor blockade in sham operated animals and two models of acute pancreatitis.
METHODS—Determination of capillary permeability in the pancreas and colonic mucosa by quantifying extravasation of fluorescein labelled dextran using a novel computer assisted video image analysis system.
RESULTS—Pancreatic and colonic capillary permeability increased stepwise from mild to severe acute pancreatitis. Endothelin increased pancreatic and colonic capillary permeability in healthy animals and animals with mild acute pancreatitis but had no additional adverse effect in severe acute pancreatitis. Endothelin receptor blockade decreased pancreatic capillary permeability in sham operated rats but had no effect on the colon. In mild and severe acute pancreatitis, endothelin receptor blockade stabilised increased capillary permeability in both the pancreas and colon.
CONCLUSIONS—Endothelin plays an important role in mediating capillary permeability in the pancreas. In severe pancreatitis, it increases capillary permeability even outside the pancreas, thereby contributing to capillary leakage. Endothelin receptor blockade significantly reduces capillary permeability in acute pancreatitis both in and outside the pancreas, suggesting a therapeutic approach to counteract capillary leakage in severe acute pancreatitis.

Keywords: pancreatitis; endothelin; endothelin receptor antagonist; microcirculation; capillary permeability; fluid sequestration
PMCID: PMC1727839  PMID: 10673302
18.  Gene Expression Profiles in Cells of Peripheral Blood Identify New Molecular Markers of Acute Pancreatitis 
Blood leukocytes play a major role in mediating local and systemic inflammation during acute pancreatitis. We hypothesize that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in circulation exhibit unique changes in gene expression, and could provide a “reporter” function that reflects the inflammatory response in pancreas of acute pancreatitis.
To determine specific changes in blood leukocytes during acute pancreatitis, we studied gene transcription profile of in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in a rat model of experimental pancreatitis (sodium taurocholate). Normal rats, saline controls and a model of septic shock were used as a controls. cRNA obtained from PBMC of each group (n = 3) were applied to Affymetrix rat genome DNA Gene Chip Arrays.
From the 8,799 rat genes analyzed, 140 genes showed unique significant changes in their expression in PBMC during the acute phase of pancreatitis, but not in sepsis. Among the 140 genes, 57 were upregulated, while 69 were downregulated. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor, prostaglandin E2 receptor and phospholipase D1 are among the top upregulated genes. Others include genes involved in G protein-coupled receptor and TGF-β-mediated signaling pathways, while genes associated with apoptosis, glucocorticoid receptors and even the cholecystokinin receptor are downregulated.
Microarray analysis in transcriptional profiling of PBMC showed that genes that are uniquely related to molecular and pancreatic function display differential expression in acute pancreatitis. Profiling genes obtained from an easily accessible source during severe pancreatitis may identify surrogate markers for disease severity.
PMCID: PMC2668141  PMID: 18347268
Acute pancreatitis; oligonucleotide microarray; abdominal sepsis; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; PBMC
19.  Reversal of postischemic acute renal failure with a selective endothelinA receptor antagonist in the rat. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1994;93(2):900-906.
Studies were designed to examine the effect of a selective endothelinA (ETA) receptor antagonist, BQ123, on severe postischemic acute renal failure (ARF) in Sprague-Dawley rats. Severe ARF was induced in uninephectomized, chronically instrumented rats by 45-min renal artery occlusion. BQ123 (0.1 mg/kg.min) or vehicle was infused intravenously for 3 h on the day after ischemia. Measurements before infusion (24 h control) showed a 98% decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR), increase in fractional excretion of sodium from 0.6 to 39%, and in plasma K+ from 4.3 to 6.5 mEq/liter. All vehicle-treated rats died in 4 d because of continuous deterioration of renal function, resulting in an increase of plasma K+ to fatal levels (> 8 mEq/liter). Infusion of BQ123 significantly improved survival rate (75%) by markedly improving tubular reabsorption of Na+ and moderately increasing GFR and K+ excretion. Plasma K+ returned to basal levels by the 5th d after ischemia. Improved tubular function was followed by gradual recovery in GFR and urinary concentrating mechanism. Additional data from renal clearance studies in rats with moderate ARF (30-min ischemia) and in normal rats with intact kidneys showed that ETA receptor blockade increases Na+ reabsorption and has no effect on renal hemodynamics. These results indicate that in the rat, the ETA receptor subtype mediates tubular epithelial function, and it plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of ischemia-induced ARF. Treatment with the selective ETA receptor antagonist reverses deteriorating tubular function in established ARF, an effect of possible therapeutic significance.
PMCID: PMC293964  PMID: 8113422
20.  Metagenomics reveals diversity and abundance of meta-cleavage pathways in microbial communities from soil highly contaminated with jet fuel under air-sparging bioremediation 
Environmental Microbiology  2009;11(9):2216-2227.
The extradiol dioxygenase diversity of a site highly contaminated with aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons under air-sparging treatment was assessed by functional screening of a fosmid library in Escherichia coli with catechol as substrate. The 235 positive clones from inserts of DNA extracted from contaminated soil were equivalent to one extradiol dioxygenase-encoding gene per 3.6 Mb of DNA screened, indicating a strong selection for genes encoding this function. Three subfamilies were identified as being predominant, with 72, 55 and 43 fosmid inserts carrying genes, related to those encoding TbuE of Ralstonia pickettii PK01 (EXDO-D), IpbC of Pseudomonas sp. JR1 (EXDO-K2) or DbtC of Burkholderia sp. DBT1 (EXDO-Dbt), respectively, whereas genes encoding enzymes related to XylE of Pseudomonas putida mt-2 were not observed. Genes encoding oxygenases related to isopropylbenzene dioxygenases were usually colocalized with genes encoding EXDO-K2 dioxygenases. Functional analysis of representative proteins indicated a subcluster of EXDO-D proteins to show exceptional high affinity towards different catecholic substrates. Based on Vmax/Km specificity constants, a task-sharing between different extradiol dioxygenases in the community of the contaminated site can be supposed, attaining a complementary and community-balanced catalytic power against diverse catecholic derivatives, as necessary for effective degradation of mixtures of aromatics.
PMCID: PMC2784041  PMID: 19575758
21.  Endothelin-1 enhances fibrogenic gene expression, but does not promote DNA synthesis or apoptosis in hepatic stellate cells 
In liver injury, the pool of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) increases and produces extracellular matrix proteins, decreasing during the resolution of fibrosis. The profibrogenic role of endothelin-1 (ET-1) in liver fibrosis remains disputed. We therefore studied the effect of ET-1 on proliferation, apoptosis and profibrogenic gene expression of HSCs.
First passage HSC predominantly expressed endothelin A receptor (ETAR) mRNA and 4th passage HSC predominantly expressed the endothelin B receptor (ETBR) mRNA. ET-1 had no effect on DNA synthesis in 1st passage HSC, but reduced DNA synthesis in 4th passage HSC by more than 50%. Inhibition of proliferation by endothelin-1 was abrogated by ETBR specific antagonist BQ788, indicating a prominent role of ETBR in growth inhibition. ET-1 did not prevent apoptosis induced by serum deprivation or Fas ligand in 1st or 4th passage HSC. However, ET-1 increased procollagen α1(I), transforming growth factor β-1 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 mRNA transcripts in a concentration-dependent manner in 1st, but not in 4th passage HSC. Profibrogenic gene expression was abrogated by ETAR antagonist BQ123. Both BQ123 and BQ788 attenuated the increase of MMP-2 expression by ET-1.
We show that ET-1 stimulates fibrogenic gene expression for 1st passage HSC and it inhibits HSC proliferation for 4th passage HSC. These data indicate the profibrogenic and antifibrogenic action of ET-1 for HSC are involved in the process of liver fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC1635728  PMID: 17062135
Intraplantar injection of endothelin-1 (ET-1) (1.5-10 μM) in the rat produces mechanical allodynia. Here we identify the receptor subtypes for ET-1, glutamate and CGRP critical to such allodynia. Antagonism of ETA or ETB receptors alone, by BQ123 or BQ788, respectively, only partially suppressed allodynia; the combined antagonists prevented allodynia, showing the involvement of both receptor subtypes. Co-injection of NMDA receptor antagonists, (+)MK-801 or D-AP5, with ET-1 also prevented allodynia. In contrast, co-injection of the CGRP1 antagonist CGRP8-37 attenuated only the later phase of allodynia (>30 min). A mechanistic basis for these effects is shown by ET-1’s ability to enhance basal release from cultured sensory neurons of glutamate and CGRP (2.4-fold and 5.7-fold, respectively, for 10 nM ET-1). ETA blockade reduced ET-1’s enhancement of basal CGRP release by ∼80%, but basal glutamate release by only ∼30%. ET-1 also enhanced the capsaicin-stimulated release of CGRP (up to 2-fold for 0.3 nM ET-1), but did not change capsaicin-stimulated glutamate release. Release stimulated by elevated K+ was not altered by ETA blockade, nor did blockade of ETB reduce any type of release. Thus, ET-1 may induce release of glutamate and CGRP from nerve terminals innervating skin, thereby sensitizing primary afferents, accounting for ET-1-dependent tactile allodynia.
The endogenous endothelin peptides participate in a remarkable variety of pain-related processes. The present results provide evidence for the participation of ionotropic glutamatergic receptors and CGRP receptors in the hyperalgesic responses to exogenous ET-1 and suggest clinically relevant targets for further study of elevated pain caused by release of endogenous ET-1.
PMCID: PMC2720062  PMID: 19559390
endothelin-1; mechanical hyperalgesia; allodynia; pain; pronociception
23.  Endothelin and the neurovascular unit in pediatric traumatic brain injury 
Neurological research  2011;33(2):127-132.
This study characterized the association between endothelin-1, cerebral hemodynamics, and histopathology after fluid percussion brain injury in the newborn pig.
Lateral fluid percussion injury was induced in newborn pigs equipped with a closed cranial window. Cerebral blood flow was determined with radiolabeled microspheres and cerebrospinal fluid endothelin-1 was measured by radioimmunoassay.
Cerebrospinal fluid endothelin-1 was increased from 26 ± 4 to 296 ± 37 pg/ml (~10−10M) at 8 hours following fluid percussion injury. Post-injury treatment (30 minutes) with the endothelin-1 antagonist BQ-123 (1 mg/kg, intravenous) blocked pial artery vasoconstriction to topical endothelin-1 (~10−10M) and blunted fluid percussion injury-induced reductions in cerebral blood flow at 8 hours post-insult (56 ± 6 and 26±4 ml/minute versus 57 ± 6 and 40 ± 4 ml/minute; 100 g for cerebral blood flow before injury and 8 hours post-fluid percussion injury in vehicle and BQ-123 post-treated animals, respectively). Fluid percussion injury resulted in neuronal cell loss and decreased microtubule associated protein 2 immunoreactivity in the parietal cortex, which were blunted by BQ-123.
These data indicate that fluid percussion injury-induced changes in cerebral hemodynamics are associated with neuronal damage and that endothelin-1 contributes to fluid percussion injury-induced histopathologic changes.
PMCID: PMC3545647  PMID: 21801587
Cerebral hemodynamics; Pediatric traumatic brain injury; Endothelin; Histopathology
24.  Effect of endothelin-1 on cyclooxygenase-2 expression in human hormone refractory prostate cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(3):495-499.
The present study aimed to explore the effects and possible mechanisms of recombinant human endothelin (ET)-1 on cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression in human hormone refractory prostate cancer PC3 cells. PC3 cells were treated with 100 nmol/l ET-1 for the indicated times (3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 h) and concentrations (0.1, 1, 10 and 100 nmol/l) for 24 h. Moreover, 100 nmol/l ET-1 was used to treat PC3 cells alone or in combination with endothelin A receptor (ETAR) antagonist BQ123 (1 μmol/l), endothelin B receptor (ETBR) antagonist BQ788 (1 μmol/l), MAPK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK)-selective inhibitor, PD98059 (10 μmol/l), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) antagonist SB203580 (5 μmol/l) or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antagonist AG1478 (0.1 μmol/l) for 24 h. COX-2 mRNA and protein expression was detected in the PC3 cells by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis. ET-1 induced a time- and dose-dependent increase in the mRNA and protein expression of COX-2 in the PC3 cells. BQ123, LY294002, SC203580 and AG1478 prevented the expression of COX-2 in the PC3 cells (P<0.05), while BQ788 did not. ET-1 induced the up-regulation of COX-2 in the PC3 cells. ETAR may be involved in the process. Several signaling pathways, including p42/44 MAPK, p38 MAPK and EGFR, are therefore implicated in the regulation of COX-2 expression.
PMCID: PMC3436340  PMID: 22966331
endothelin-1; cyclooxygenase 2; prostate cancer; gene expression
25.  Bile and pancreatic juice exclusion activates acinar stress kinases and exacerbates gallstone pancreatitis 
Surgery  2007;143(3):434-440.
Hypothesis: Bile and pancreatic juice exclusion from gut activates acinar stress kinases and exacerbates gallstone pancreatitis as evidenced by ameliorating effects of replacement therapy in an experimental model of duct ligation-induced acute pancreatitis. In early stages of gallstone pancreatitis, bile-pancreatic juice cannot enter the gut. Enteral exclusion worsens pancreatitis by causing feedback hyperstimulation of the exocrine pancreas that activates acinar cell stress kinases. Investigations using a unique surgical model, the Donor Rat Model, showed that duodenal replacement of bile-pancreatic juice in rats with duct ligation attenuates pancreatic stress kinase activation, reduces pancreatic cytokine production, and ameliorates pancreatic morphologic changes. These findings suggest that exclusion-induced acinar hyperstimulation, in the presence of duct obstruction, exacerbates acute pancreatitis via stress kinase activation. Although acinar hyperstimulation has often been implicated in acute pancreatitis pathogenesis, the lack of supporting evidence remains a conspicuous lacuna. The proposed hypothesis draws on fresh evidence to present a new paradigm that re-examines the role of exocrine pancreatic hyperstimulation in gallstone pancreatitis pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2278165  PMID: 18291265

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