The objective of the present grant proposal is to demonstrate how inborn gene mutations can sensitize the pancreas to alcohol-induced injury and result in alcoholic pancreatitis. The specific hypothesis tested posits that alcohol and mutations that affect digestive enzyme folding synergize in promoting endoplasmic reticulum stress and causing progressive acinar cell damage. In this setting, the pancreas becomes more sensitive to insults and responds with acute attacks of inflammation (alcoholic acute pancreatitis) which eventually progress to chronic disease (alcoholic chronic pancreatitis). Our proposed studies will take advantage of a novel genetically engineered mouse strain, which carries a ?misfolding? mutation in the mouse carboxypeptidase A1 (Cpa1) gene. We will study how in this strain an alcohol diet affects spontaneous pancreatic damage, ER stress markers, cell death pathways and pathological responses in experimentally induced acute pancreatitis.
The current grant proposal investigates how inborn genetic mutations in digestive enzymes can promote the development of alcoholic pancreatitis, a progressive inflammatory disease of the pancreas associated with chronic alcoholism. Results from this study can advance innovation towards novel diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in alcoholic pancreatitis.