Adaptive cytoprotection is the process by which the pretreatment of cells with low concentrations of a noxious agent prevents the damage caused by a subsequent exposure of those cells to higher concentrations of that same agent. In this study, a human gastric carcinoma cell line was used to examine the molecular mechanism of adaptive cytoprotection induced by ethanol. Pretreatment of cells with 1%-4% ethanol made cells resistant to a subsequent exposure to 8% ethanol. This adaptive cytoprotection was accompanied by an increase in prostaglandin E2 synthesis and was partially inhibited by inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2, but not by an inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-1. Furthermore, the adaptive cytoprotection was not dependent on newly synthesized proteins and was inhibited by a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Based on these results, it is proposed that the stimulation of cyclooxygenase-2-dependent prostaglandin E2 synthesis, which is regulated post-translationally by protein tyrosine phosphorylation, plays an important role in adaptive cytoprotection induced by ethanol in gastric cells.
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