Pancreatic cholesterol esterase, ES-10, and fatty acid ethyl ester synthase III gene expression are increased in the pancreas and liver but not in the brain or heart with long-term ethanol feeding in rats

Pancreas. 2002 Jul;25(1):101-6. doi: 10.1097/00006676-200207000-00021.


Introduction: Chronic alcohol consumption predisposes susceptible individuals to both acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Aims: Our hypothesis was that alcohol increases the risk of pancreatitis by disrupting defense mechanisms and/or enhancing injury-associated pathways through altered gene expression. Hence, we studied the expression of pancreatic genes in rats chronically exposed to ethanol.

Methodology: Male Wistar rats were pair-fed liquid diets without and with ethanol for 4 weeks. Total RNA was extracted from rat pancreas and other organs. The mRNA expression patterns among pancreatic samples from ethanol-fed rats and controls were compared with use of mRNA differential display. The differentially expressed cDNA tags were isolated, cloned, and sequenced.

Results: One cDNA tag that was overexpressed in the pancreas showed 99% sequence homology to a rat pancreatic cholesterol esterase mRNA (CEL; Enzyme Commission number [EC] The differential expression was confirmed by realtime PCR. Gene expression was also increased in the liver but not in the heart or brain of the alcohol-fed rats. Because CEL has fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE)-generating activity and FAEEs play a major role in acute alcoholic pancreatitis, we determined the expression of other genes encoding for FAEE-generating enzymes and showed similar organ-specific expression patterns.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that chronic ethanol consumption induced expression of FAEE-related genes in the pancreas and liver. This upregulation may be a central mechanism leading to acinar cell injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Carboxylesterase
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / enzymology
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / physiopathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sterol Esterase / genetics*


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ethanol
  • Acyltransferases
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Carboxylesterase
  • Sterol Esterase
  • fatty acyl ethyl ester synthase