Agonists of protease-activated receptors 1 and 2 stimulate electrolyte secretion from mouse gallbladder

Jacob G. Kirkland, Graeme S. Cottrell, Nigel W. Bunnett, Carlos U. Corvera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cholecystitis is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases. Inflammation induces the activation of proteases that can signal to cells by cleaving protease-activated receptors (PARs) to induce hemostasis, inflammation, pain, and repair. However, the distribution of PARs in the gallbladder is unknown, and their effects on gallbladder function have not been fully investigated. We localized immunoreactive PAR1 and PAR2 to the epithelium, muscle, and serosa of mouse gallbladder. mRNA transcripts corresponding to PAR1 and PAR2, but not PAR4, were detected by RT-PCR and sequencing. Addition of thrombin and a PAR 1-selective activating peptide (TFLLRN-NH2) to the serosal surface of mouse gallbladder mounted in an Ussing chamber stimulated an increase in short-circuit current in wild-type but not PAR1 knockout mice. Similarly, serosally applied trypsin and PAR2 activating peptide (SLIGRL-NH2) increased short-circuit current in wildtype but not PAR2 knockout mice. Proteases and activating peptides strongly inhibited electrogenic responses to subsequent stimulation with the same agonist, indicating homologous desensitization. Removal of HCO3 - ions from the serosal buffer reduced responses to thrombin and trypsin by >80%. Agonists of PAR1 and PAR2 increase intracellular Ca2+ concentration in isolated and cultured gallbladder epithelial cells. The COX-2 inhibitor meloxicam and an inhibitor of CFTR prevented the stimulatory effect of PAR1 but not PAR2. Thus PAR1 and PAR2 are expressed in the epithelium of the mouse gallbladder, and serosally applied proteases cause a HCO3 - secretion. The effects of PAR1 but not PAR2 depend on generation of prostaglandins and activation of CFTR. These mechanisms may markedly influence fluid and electrolyte secretion of the inflamed gallbladder when multiple proteases are generated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G335-G346
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Bicarbonate transport
  • Epithelial transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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