Background and aim: Recent studies have indicated that prior thermal stress causes upregulation of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression in the pancreas and protects against secretagogue induced pancreatitis. The mechanisms responsible for the protective effect are not known. Similarly, the effects of prior non-thermal stress on HSP70 expression and pancreatitis are not known. The current studies were designed to specifically address these issues. Methods: In the current studies pancreatitis was induced by administration of a supramaximally stimulating dose of caerulein 12 hours after thermal stress and 24 hours after non-thermal (that is, β adrenergic stimulation) stress. Results: Both thermal and non-thermal stresses caused pancreatic HSP70 levels to rise and resulted in increased expression of HSP70 in acinar cells. Both forms of stresses protected against caerulein induced pancreatitis and prevented the early intrapancreatic activation of trypsinogen which occurs in this model of pancreatitis. Conclusions: These results suggest that both thermal and non-thermal stresses protect against pancreatitis by preventing intrapancreatic digestive enzyme activation and that HSP70 may mediate this protective effect.
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