Molecular mechanisms associated with apoptosis in pancreas remain largely unknown. Clusterin mRNA is induced in several tissues in response to most apoptotic stimuli. In these tissues, clusterin has an antiapoptotic activity. The aim of this work was to test whether clusterin, which is not expressed in normal pancreas, was induced in pancreas during pancreatitis and pancreatic development. Clusterin mRNA levels were strongly increased 6 h after pancreatitis induction. Maximal expression happened between 24-48 h and decreased progressively to undetectable levels at day 5. Clusterin mRNA was expressed with similar intensity in oedematous caerulein-induced pancreatitis and in response to various degrees of necrohaemorrhagic taurocholate-induced pancreatitis, indicating a maximal gene activity in all types of pancreatitis; in situ hybridization showed that the acinar cells and some ducts expressed clusterin mRNA. A single band of about 35-38 kDa was detected by western blot in pancreatic homogenates and in pancreatic juice from rats with acute pancreatitis, but not from control rats. Clusterin mRNA expression was strong in late fetal life and remains high until day 11 post-partum, then decreased progressively with a minimum from 35 to 90 days post-partum. Clusterin mRNA levels were strongly induced in pancreatic acinar AR4-2J cells in response to various apoptotic stimuli (i.e., cycloheximide, staurosporine, ceramide and H2O2) but not with interleukin (IL)-1, IL-4 or IL-6 or heat shock, which do not induce apoptosis in AR4-2J cells. In conclusion, we demonstrated that clusterin is synthesized and released by the pancreas. Its strong expression during acute pancreatitis suggests its involvement in the pancreatic response to injury. Clusterin is also induced during pancreatic development. Because these situations are associated with apoptosis and clusterin was shown to protect against apoptosis, we speculate that clusterin could be involved in the control of acinar cell apoptosis.
|Number of pages
|European Journal of Biochemistry
|Published - 1 Jun 1998