Protein kinase C mediates experimental colitis in the rat

James F. Brown, Qing Chang, Brian D. Soper, Barry L. Tepperman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Protein kinase C (PKC) plays an important role in the cell signal transduction of many physiological processes. In contrast to these physiological responses, increases in PKC activity have also been associated with inflammatory disease states, including ulcerative colitis. The objective of this study was to examine the role of PKC as a causative mediator in initiation of experimentally induced colitis in the rat. Colitis was induced in rats by intrarectal (0.6 ml) instillation of 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS; 75 mg/kg in 50% ethanol) or the PKC activator phorbol 12- myristate 13-acetate (PMA; 1.5-3.0 mg/kg in 20% ethanol). Gross and histological mucosal damage, mucosal neutrophil infiltration, mucosal PKC activity, and PKC protein content for PKC isoforms α, β, δ, and ε were assessed 2 h to 14 days after an inflammatory challenge. Both PKC activity and mucosal injury increased significantly within 4 h of TNBS treatment. PKC activity was maximal at 7 days and declined at 14 days, whereas mucosal damage became maximal at 1 day and declined after 7 days. In contrast, neutrophil infiltration as assessed by myeloperoxidase activity only increased 12 h after TNBS treatment, became maximal 1 day after TNBS administration, and declined thereafter. PKCβ, -δ, and -ε were increased in response to TNBS, whereas PKCα protein content was decreased. The PKC antagonists staurosporine and GF-109203X (25 ng/kg iv) reduced TNBS-induced changes in mucosal PKC activity and the degree of mucosal damage. In contrast, neutropenia induced by antineutrophil serum treatment did not significantly affect the degree of injury or mucosal PKC activity. Furthermore, activation of mucosal PKC activity with PMA also induced mucosal damage, which was also inhibited by pretreatment with a PKC antagonist. In conclusion, these results suggest that increases in PKC activity play a causative role in TNBS-induced colitis. The PKC-mediated response to TNBS does not appear to involve neutrophil infiltration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G583-G590
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999


  • 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid
  • Inflammation
  • Myeloperoxidase protein kinase C antagonist
  • Phorbol 12-myristate 13- acetate


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