Acute pancreatitis induces FasL gene expression and apoptosis in the liver.
BACKGROUND: Liver injury is an important prognostic indicator in acute pancreatitis. We previously demonstrated that Kupffer cell-derived cytokines mediate liver injury. In this work, we sought to characterize the role of Fas Ligand (FasL) in liver injury during acute pancreatitis. METHODS: Acute pancreatitis was induced in mice using cerulein; serum FasL, AST, ALT, liver FasL, p38-MAPK, and caspase-3 were measured. FasL mRNA and protein and its receptor (Fas) were determined in rat Kupffer cells treated with elastase (1 U/ml) to mimic acute pancreatitis. Apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Cerulein-induced pancreatitis increased serum AST, ALT, and FasL and up-regulated liver FasL (1315 +/- 111 versus 310 +/- 164 pg/ml, P = 0.002 versus sham), while inducing p38-MAPK phosphorylation (P < 0.01 versus sham) and cleavage of caspase-3 (P < 0.04 versus sham); all were attenuated by pretreatment with the Kupffer cell inhibitor, gadolinium (all P < 0.003). In vitro, elastase induced a time-dependent increase in Kupffer cell FasL protein (FasL = 404 +/- 94 versus 170 +/- 40, P = 0.02, versus control), a 100-fold increase in FasL mRNA, and up-regulated Fas (FasL receptor). Gadolinium significantly attenuated the elastase-induced increase in FasL and FasL mRNA (FasL = 230 +/- 20 versus 404 +/- 94, P = 0.01, versus elastase) but had little effect on Fas. Additionally, elastase-primed Kupffer cell media induced apoptosis in hepatocytes (29 +/- 1 versus 16% +/- 1%; versus control, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Acute pancreatitis induces liver injury and hepatocyte death while up-regulating FasL, p38-MAPK, and caspase-3. Fas is up-regulated within Kupffer cells, suggesting that FasL may autoregulate its production by inducing its originator-cell death. The ability to manipulate interactions between Kupffer cells and hepatocytes may have important therapeutic implications.
Gallagher, SF; Yang, J; Baksh, K; Haines, K; Carpenter, H; Epling-Burnette, PK; Peng, Y; Norman, J; Murr, MM
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