Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase attenuates ethanol-induced ER/oxidative stress and lipid phenotype in human pancreatic acinar cells

Mukund P. Srinivasan, Kamlesh K. Bhopale, Anna A. Caracheo, Samir M. Amer, Shamis Khan, Lata Kaphalia, Gopalakrishnan Loganathan, Appakalai N. Balamurugan, Bhupendra S. Kaphalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Primary toxicity targets of alcohol and its metabolites in the pancreas are cellular energetics and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Therefore, the role of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPKα) in amelioration of ethanol (EtOH)-induced pancreatic acinar cell injury including ER/oxidative stress, inflammatory responses, the formation of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) and mitochondrial bioenergetics were determined in human pancreatic acinar cells (hPACs) and AR42J cells incubated with/without AMPKα activator [5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR)]. EtOH treated hPACs showed concentration and time-dependent increases for FAEEs and inactivation of AMPKα, along with the upregulation of ACC1 and FAS (key lipogenic proteins) and downregulation of CPT1A (involved β-oxidation of fatty acids). These cells also showed significant ER stress as evidenced by the increased expression for GRP78, IRE1α, and PERK/CHOP arm of unfolded protein response promoting apoptosis and activating p-JNK1/2 and p-ERK1/2 with increased secretion of cytokines. AR42J cells treated with EtOH showed increased oxidative stress, impaired mitochondrial biogenesis, and decreased ATP production rate. However, AMPKα activation by AICAR attenuated EtOH-induced ER/oxidative stress, lipogenesis, and inflammatory responses as well as the formation of FAEEs and restored mitochondrial function in hPACs as well as AR42J cells. Therefore, it is likely that EtOH-induced inactivation of AMPKα plays a crucial role in acinar cell injury leading to pancreatitis. Findings from this study also suggest that EtOH-induced inactivation of AMPKα is closely related to ER/oxidative stress and synthesis of FAEEs, as activation of AMPKα by AICAR attenuates formation of FAEEs, ER/oxidative stress and lipogenesis, and improves inflammatory responses and mitochondrial bioenergetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114174
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • AMPKα
  • Alcoholic pancreatitis
  • ER stress
  • Fatty acid ethyl esters
  • Human pancreatic acinar cells
  • Mitochondrial stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase attenuates ethanol-induced ER/oxidative stress and lipid phenotype in human pancreatic acinar cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this