A competitive PCR assay was developed to quantify platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor (PAF-R) transcripts in rat tissues using a synthetic RNA as a competitor. We found PAF-R mRNA constitutively expressed in the eight organs tested, with the ileum containing the highest concentration [(3.49±0.15)×107 molecules/μg of RNA]. Significant but lower levels were also detected in the jejunum, spleen, lungs, kidneys, heart, stomach and liver. Furthermore we defined the regulatory role of inflammatory mediators in ileal PAF-R gene expression using a rat model of intestinal injury induced by PAF or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Injection of LPS or low-dose PAF resulted in a marked increase in ileal PAF-R mRNA within 30 min. The up-regulation on PAF-R elicited by PAF was biphasic, peaking first at 90 min, then again at 6 h. In contrast, LPS elicited a weak monophasic response. The second phase of PAF-R mRNA increase after PAF administration was completely abolished by WEB 2170, a PAF antagonist, and partially inhibited by anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antibody. These observations indicate the involvement of endogenous PAF and TNF in this event. In conclusion, we found: (a) preferential PAF-R expression in the ileum, suggesting a role for PAF in intestinal inflammation; (b) induction of PAF-R expression in vivo by its own agonist; (c) a complex regulation of PAR-R gene expression in vivoinvolving a network of various pro-inflammatory mediators.

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