Previously, we reported that PTH-related protein (PTHrP) gene expression is induced in vital organs, including the liver, during endotoxemia. The liver plays a central role in the acute phase response (APR), a cytokine- mediated host defense against infection and inflammation that includes increased production of acute phase proteins and lipids by hepatocytes. Because PTHrP is thought to act locally at its site of production, in vivo studies were carried out to determine whether PTHrP could contribute to the induction of the hepatic APR. Hepatic PTHrP messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were induced acutely in rat liver in response to a near lethal dose of endotoxin. PTHrP protein, which was located by immunohistochemical staining in hepatocytes from both control and LPS-treated rats, was markedly induced in periportal hepatocytes in response to LPS treatment. Co-incident with this transient increase in PTHrP gene expression, PTH/PTHrP receptor mRNA levels were down-regulated. Administration of PTHrP(1-34), a PTH/PTHrP receptor agonist, to mice increased hepatic serum amyloid A (SAA) mRNA levels as well as circulating levels of SAA. In addition, PTHrP(1-34) increased serum triglyceride (TG) levels in rats and mice in a dose-dependent fashion. The hypertriglyceridemic effect of PTHrP(1-34) was accompanied by an increase in hepatic fatty acid synthesis. In contrast, PTHrP(7-34) amide, a receptor antagonist, had no effect on serum SAA, or TG levels. These results, which provide evidence for the regulated expression of PTHrP in adult liver, suggest that PTHrP may be one additional member of the cytokine cascade produced locally in liver that can act to stimulate the hepatic acute phase response.
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