Development of testicular inflammation in the rat involves activation of proteinase-activated receptor-2

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Mast cells are involved in early events crucial to inflammation and autoimmune disease. Recently, proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2), a G-protein coupled receptor important to injury responses, was shown to be activated by mast cell tryptase. To investigate whether mast cells and PAR2 are involved in the development and/or aggravation of testicular inflammation, we studied acute and chronic inflammatory models in the rat. In normal testes, PAR2 was detected immunohistochemically in macrophages, in peritubular cells (PTCs) and in spermatid acrosomes. In experimentally induced autoimmune orchitis (EAO), PAR2 was strongly upregulated in macrophages and peritubular-like cells, forming concentric layers around granulomas. Mast cells increased 10-fold in number, were more widely distributed throughout the interstitial tissue, and were partially degranulated. Isolated PTCs expressed functional PAR2, responded to PAR2 activation by phosphorylating extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) and activating protein kinase c, and increased intracellular Ca2+ concentrations as well as monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), transforming growth factor β2 (TGFβ2), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA expression. Expression of these inflammatory mediators, together with iNOS, also increased significantly in testes 50 days after EAO.In vivo, expression of cytokines and inflammatory mediators was upregulated after injection of recombinant tryptase (MCP-1, TGFβ2, and COX-2) and a specific PAR2 peptide agonist (MCP-1, TGFβ2) in the testis after 5 h. These results suggest that PAR2 activation elicited on PTCs by mast cell tryptase contributes to acute testicular inflammation and that this pathogenetic mechanism may also play a role in autoimmune orchitis.

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