Background: CXC chemokines such as interleukin (IL)-8 are neutrophil chemoattractants, the levels of which increase in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa. Many investigators have focused on the chemotactic aspects of IL-8: however, CXC chemokines are also reported to have angiogenic activity and to serve as remodelling factors. Rat GRO/CINC-1 is a rodent counterpart of human GROalpha, a member of the family of CXC chemokines. Gastric mucosa infected with H. pylori is in a state of hyperproliferation, with increases in the amounts of growth factors such as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF).
Aim: To investigate whether rat GRO/CINC-1 had growth-stimulating activity for gastric epithelial cells.
Methods: The rat gastric epithelial cell line RGM-1 was incubated in serum-free medium for 12 h to adjust the cell cycle to the G0 phase, and GRO/CINC-1 was then added for 24 h. The total cell number was determined by fluorogenic analysis after propidium iodide staining, and cell proliferation was assessed by measuring 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation. The activity of p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was measured 5-20 min after the start of GRO/CINC-1 exposure.
Results: Cultures treated with GRO/CINC-1 showed a significant increase in cell number and BrdU incorporation in a concentration-dependent fashion. The MAPK activity increased within 5 min after GRO/CINC-1 application and returned to the control level at 20 min.
Conclusion: The growth-stimulatory effect of GRO/CINC-1 on rat gastric epithelial cells suggests a dual function of this chemokine: proinflammatory action and induction of epithelial proliferation.