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Open Access Research article

A protease activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) activating peptide, tc-LIGRLO-NH2, induces protease release from mast cells: role in TNF degradation

Hashem N Alshurafa1, Grant R Stenton1, John L Wallace2, Morley D Hollenberg2, A Dean Befus1* and Harissios Vliagoftis1

Author Affiliations

1 Glaxo-Heritage Asthma Research Laboratory, Pulmonary Research Group, Department of Medicine, Room 550A HMRC, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2S2

2 Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics University of Calgary 3330 Hospital Drive NW Calgary AB, Canada T2N 4N1

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BMC Pharmacology 2004, 4:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2210-4-12

Published: 20 July 2004



Mast cell (MC)-derived serine proteases have been implicated in a variety of inflammatory processes. We have previously shown that rat peritoneal MC (PMC) express mRNA for protease activated receptor 2 (PAR-2), a G-coupled receptor activated by trypsin-like proteases. Recent evidence also suggests that MC-induced inflammation can be mediated through PAR. Therefore, we hypothesized that specific PAR-2 agonist peptides (PAR-2ap) induce protease release from PMC.


Western blot analysis of PMC supernatants revealed that a PAR-2ap, tc-LIGRLO (10 μM), stimulated the release of rat MC protease (RMCP)-1, RMCP-5 and carboxypeptidase-A. The release was evident by 20 min but further increased up to 8 h. To study the biological effects of protease release we tested supernatants from tc-LIGRLO, tc-OLRGIL (inactive control peptide) and antigen-activated PMC for proteolytic activity by seeding with TNF (150 pg/ml), incubating for 8 h at 37°C, and measuring TNF remaining in the supernatants. Supernatants from tc-LIGRLO-stimulated PMC degraded 44 % of seeded TNF (n = 5). Moreover, this TNF proteolysis was dependent on the concentration of tc-LIGRLO used to stimulate PMC, and was significantly inhibited (94 %) by soybean trypsin inhibitor. Antigen and tc-OLRGIL induced no significant release of such proteolytic activity.


These data indicate that a PAR-2ap induces the release of proteases from mast cells, which may degrade extracellular cytokines and other substrates thus modulating the inflammatory response.