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Orai1 calcium channel inhibition prevents progression of chronic pancreatitis.

JCI Insight 2023 May 26
Patients with recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP) are at significant risk of developing early chronic pancreatitis (CP), which progresses into irreversible, end-stage CP with severe symptoms. There is no specific therapy in RAP or in early CP that may hinder disease progression. The pathogenesis of CP is complex and involves interactions among multiple cell types, including pancreatic acinar, ductal, and stellate cells (PSC). Therefore, it is pivotal to identify common pathogenic pathways in these cells that could be targeted pharmacologically. The Orai1-mediated store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a ubiquitous signaling mechanism, which may become overactivated in pathological states resulting intracellular Ca2+ overload. In this study, we used ex vivo and in vivo preclinical disease models to demonstrate that Orai1 inhibition prevents progression of RAP and early CP. The selective Orai1 inhibitor CM5480 restored the expression of SOCE-associated regulatory factor in acinar cells, prevented uncontrolled Ca2+ elevation, protected acinar and ductal functions, mitigated immune cell infiltration, and diminished PSC activation, proliferation and migration. We suggest that the overactivation of Orai1 is a crucial pathogenetic event in the progression of early CP, and inhibition of Orai1 could prevent the development of end-stage CP.

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