Cathepsin B inhibition prevents trypsinogen activation and reduces pancreatitis severity

Gijs J.D. Van Acker, Ashok K. Saluja, Lakshmi Bhagat, Vijay P. Singh, Albert M. Song, Michael L. Steer

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107 Scopus citations


Intrapancreatic activation of trypsinogen is believed to play a critical role in the initiation of acute pancreatitis, but mechanisms responsible for intrapancreatic trypsinogen activation during pancreatitis have not been clearly defined. In previous in vitro studies, we have shown that intra-acinar cell activation of trypsinogen and acinar cell injury in response to supramaximal secretagogue stimulation could be prevented by the cell permeant cathepsin B inhibitor E64d (Saluja A, Donovan EA, Yamanaka K, Yamaguchi Y, Hofbauer B, and Steer ML. Gastroenterology 113: 304-310, 1997). The present studies evaluated the role of intrapancreatic trypsinogen activation, this time under in vivo conditions, in two models of pancreatitis by using another highly soluble cell permeant cathepsin B inhibitor, L-3-trans-(propylcarbamoyl)oxirane-2-carbonyl-L-isoleucyl-L-proline methyl ester (CA-074me). Intravenous administration of CA-074me (10 mg/kg) before induction of either secretagogue-elicited pancreatitis in mice or duct infusion-elicited pancreatitis in rats markedly reduced the extent of intrapancreatic trypsinogen activation and substantially reduced the severity of both pancreatitis models. These observations support the hypothesis that, during the early stages of pancreatitis, trypsinogen activation in the pancreas is mediated by the lysosomal enzyme cathepsin B. Our findings also suggest that pharmacological interventions that inhibit cathepsin B may prove useful in preventing acute pancreatitis or reducing its severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G794-G800
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3 46-3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Zymogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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