Protease-activated receptors (PAR) are present in the urinary bladder, and their expression is altered in response to inflammation. PARs are a unique class of G protein-coupled that carry their own ligands, which remain cryptic until unmasked by proteolytic cleavage. Although the canonical signal transduction pathway downstream of PAR activation and coupling with various G proteins is known and leads to the rapid transcription of genes involved in inflammation, the effect of PAR activation on the downstream transcriptome is unknown.
We have shown that intravesical administration of PAR-activating peptides leads to an inflammatory reaction characterized by edema and granulocyte infiltration. Moreover, the inflammatory response to intravesical instillation of known pro-inflammatory stimuli such as E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS), substance P (SP), and antigen was strongly attenuated by PAR1- and to a lesser extent by PAR2-deficiency.
Here, cDNA array experiments determined inflammatory genes whose expression is dependent on PAR1 activation. For this purpose, we compared the alteration in gene expression in wild type and PAR1-/- mice induced by classical pro-inflammatory stimuli (LPS, SP, and antigen). 75 transcripts were considered to be dependent on PAR-1 activation and further annotated in silico by Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) and gene ontology (GO). Selected transcripts were target validated by quantitative PCR (Q-PCR). Among PAR1-dependent transcripts, the following have been implicated in the inflammatory process: b2m, ccl7, cd200, cd63, cdbpd, cfl1, dusp1, fkbp1a, fth1, hspb1, marcksl1, mmp2, myo5a, nfkbia, pax1, plaur, ppia, ptpn1, ptprcap, s100a10, sim2, and tnfaip2. However, a balanced response to signals of injury requires a transient cellular activation of a panel of genes together with inhibitory systems that temper the overwhelming inflammation. In this context, the activation of genes such as dusp1 and nfkbia seems to counter-balance the inflammatory response to PAR activation by limiting prolonged activation of p38 MAPK and increased cytokine production. In contrast, transcripts such as arf6 and dcnt1 that are involved in the mechanism of PAR re-sensitization would tend to perpetuate the inflammatory reaction in response to common pro-inflammatory stimuli.
The combination of cDNA array results and genomic networks reveals an overriding participation of PAR1 in bladder inflammation, provides a working model for the involvement of downstream signaling, and evokes testable hypotheses regarding the transcriptome downstream of PAR1 activation.
It remains to be determined whether or not mechanisms targeting PAR1 gene silencing or PAR1 blockade will ameliorate the clinical manifestation of cystitis.