By using a combination of the methods of reverse transcription-PCR and rapid amplification of cDNA ends, a cDNA for rat pS2 peptide (rpS2) was successfully cloned and sequenced from rat stomach. By RNA blot analysis, the gene was shown to be expressed abundantly in the stomach and only faintly in the duodenum, but not in other tissues including the distal small and large intestines. rpS2 expression was also examined in the rectum during the course of acetic acid-induced colitis; rpS2 mRNA was detected during the acute phase of colitis but not in normal controls or during the recovery phase. On the other hand, expression of rat intestinal trefoil factor (rITF) was down-regulated during the acute phase of colitis and then up-regulated during the recovery phase, whereas rat spasmolytic peptide was not detectable throughout the course of the induced colitis. These results indicate that the patterns and timing of the expression of these trefoil peptides are different from each other. rpS2 may play an important role in the proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells during the acute phase of mucosal ulceration, whereas rITF may be involved in differentiation of the cells, particularly to form goblet cells, during the recovery phase.

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