Emerging evidence demonstrates that the blockade of intracellular Ca 2+ signals may protect pancreatic acinar cells against Ca 2+ overload, intracellular protease activation, and necrosis. The activation of cannabinoid receptor subtype 2 (CB 2 R) prevents acinar cell pathogenesis in animal models of acute pancreatitis. However, whether CB 2 Rs modulate intracellular Ca 2+ signals in pancreatic acinar cells is largely unknown. We evaluated the roles of CB 2 R agonist, GW405833 (GW) in agonist-induced Ca 2+ oscillations in pancreatic acinar cells using multiple experimental approaches with acute dissociated pancreatic acinar cells prepared from wild type, CB 1 R-knockout (KO), and CB 2 R-KO mice. Immunohistochemical labeling revealed that CB 2 R protein was expressed in mouse pancreatic acinar cells. Electrophysiological experiments showed that activation of CB 2 Rs by GW reduced acetylcholine (ACh)-, but not cholecystokinin (CCK)-induced Ca 2+ oscillations in a concentration-dependent manner; this inhibition was prevented by a selective CB 2 R antagonist, AM630, or was absent in CB 2 R-KO but not CB 1 R-KO mice. In addition, GW eliminated L-arginine-induced enhancement of Ca 2+ oscillations, pancreatic amylase, and pulmonary myeloperoxidase. Collectively, we provide novel evidence that activation of CB 2 Rs eliminates ACh-induced Ca 2+ oscillations and L-arginine-induced enhancement of Ca 2+ signaling in mouse pancreatic acinar cells, which suggests a potential cellular mechanism of CB 2 R-mediated protection in acute pancreatitis.
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