To elucidate whether pancreatic acinar cell submitted to stress is able to express TNF-alpha, we studied TNF-alpha mRNA expression by Northern blot and in situ hybridization in healthy pancreas, in tissue from caerulein-induced pancreatitis and after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment. In specimens from normal pancreas, TNF-alpha mRNA expression, as judged by both Northern blot and in situ hybridization, was negative, whereas a strong but transient expression was observed in acinar cells from caerulein pancreatitis and LPS treatment. TNF-alpha mRNA appeared as rapidly as 30 min after treatment, and was maximal 6 h after. At this time, there was mild infiltration consisting mostly of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) and no signal of TNF-alpha transcript was found in their cytoplasm. Our results strongly indicate that pancreatic acinar cell is the source of TNF-alpha early in the course of acute pancreatitis and LPS treatment, and suggest that the expression of this cytokine is a part of a general response of the acinar cell to aggression.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.