Aim: To assess the effect of our novel cell-permeable nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) inhibitor peptide PN50 in an experimental model of acute pancreatitis. PN50 was produced by conjugating the cell-penetrating penetratin peptide with the nuclear localization signal of the NF-κB p50 subunit. Methods: Pancreatitis was induced in male Wistar rats by administering 2×100 μg/kg body weight of cholecystokinin-octapeptide (CCK) intraperitoneally (IP) at an interval of 1 h. PN50-treated animals received 1 mg/kg of PN50 IP 30 min before or after the CCK injections. The animals were sacrificed 4 h after the first injection of CCK. Results: All the examined laboratory (the pancreatic weight/body weight ratio, serum amylase activity, pancreatic levels of TNF-α and IL-6, degree of lipid peroxidation, reduced glutathione levels, NF-κB binding activity, pancreatic and lung myeloperoxidase activity) and morphological parameters of the disease were improved before and after treatment with the PN50 peptide. According to the histological findings, PN50 protected the animals against acute pancreatitis by favoring the induction of apoptotic, as opposed to necrotic acinar cell death associated with severe acute pancreatitis. Conclusion: Our study implies that reversible inhibitors of stress-responsive transcription factors like NF-κB might be clinically useful for the suppression of the severity of acure pancreatitis.
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