Epithelial effects of proteinase-activated receptors in the gastrointestinal tract|
Wallace K MacNaughton
The intestinal epithelium plays a crucial role in providing a barrier between the external environment and the internal milieu of the body. A compromised mucosal barrier is characteristic of mucosal inflammation and is a key determinant of the development of intestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The intestinal epithelium is regularly exposed to serine proteinases and this exposure is enhanced in numerous disease states. Thus, it is important to understand how proteinase-activated receptors (PARs), which are activated by serine proteinases, can affect intestinal epithelial function. This review surveys the data which demonstrate the wide distribution of PARs, particularly PAR-1 and PAR-2, in the gastrointestinal tract and accessory organs, focusing on the epithelium and those cells which communicate with the epithelium to affect its function. PARs have a role in regulating secretion by epithelia of the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas and intestine. In addition, PARs located on subepithelial nerves, fibroblasts and mast cells have important implications for epithelial function. Recent data outline the importance of the cellular site of PAR expression, as PARs expressed on epithelia may have effects that are countered by PARs expressed on other cell types. Finally, PARs and their ability to promote epithelial cell proliferation are discussed in terms of colon cancer.
proteinase-activated receptors - epithelium - secretion - inflammation - cancer