c-Abl kinase regulates neutrophil extracellular trap formation, inflammation, and tissue damage in severe acute pancreatitis

Raed Madhi, Milladur Rahman, Matthias Mörgelin, Henrik Thorlacius
Journal of Leukocyte Biology 2019, 106 (2): 455-466
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are involved in acute pancreatitis (AP) but mechanisms controlling NET expulsion in AP are incompletely understood. Herein, we examined the role of c-Abelson (c-Abl) kinase in NET formation and tissue damage in severe AP. AP was induced by taurocholate infusion into pancreatic duct or intraperitoneal administration of l-arginine in mice. Pancreatic, lung, and blood samples were collected and levels of phosphorylated c-Abl kinase, citrullinated histone 3, DNA-histone complexes, myeloperoxidase, amylase, cytokines, and CXC chemokines were quantified. Citrullinated histone 3, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and NET formation were determined in bone marrow neutrophils. Taurocholate challenge increased phosphorylation of c-Abl kinase and levels of citrullinated histone 3 in the pancreas as well as DNA-histone complexes in the plasma. Administration of the c-Abl kinase inhibitor GZD824 not only abolished activation of c-Abl kinase but also decreased levels of citrullinated histone 3 in the pancreas and DNA-histone complexes in the plasma of animals with AP. Moreover, GZD824 decreased plasma levels of amylase, IL-6, and MMP-9 as well as edema, acinar cell necrosis, hemorrhage, CXC chemokine formation, and neutrophil infiltration in the inflamed pancreas. A beneficial effect of c-Abl kinase inhibition was confirmed in l-arginine-induced pancreatitis. In vitro, inhibition of c-Abl kinase reduced TNF-α-induced formation of ROS, histone 3 citrullination, and NETs in isolated bone marrow neutrophils. Our findings demonstrate that c-Abl kinase regulates NET formation in the inflamed pancreas. In addition, inhibition of c-Abl kinase reduced pancreatic tissue inflammation, and damage in AP. Thus, targeting c-Abl kinase might be a useful way to protect the pancreas in severe AP.

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