SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • chronic pancreatitis;
  • pancreas fibrosis;
  • pancreatic stellate cells

Abstract

Pancreas fibrosis is the result of a dynamic cascade of mechanisms beginning with acinar cell (AC) injury and necrosis and followed by inflammation, activation of macrophages, aggregation of platelets, release of growth factors and reactive oxygen species (ROS), activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSC), stimulated synthesis of extracellular matrix and reduced matrix degradation. The result is a net matrix accumulation. Numerous in vivo and in vitro studies have provided strong evidence of a central role for PSC in fibrogenesis associated with acute and chronic pancreatitis. The PSC share homologies with hepatic stellate cells (HSC). In normal pancreas, the fat-storing phenotype of PSC is found in low numbers (approx. 4% of the cells) in the periacinar and interlobular space. Similar to the stellate cell-activating mechanisms in the liver, in pancreas injury PSC change their phenotype from the fat-storing to a highly active matrix-producing cell type (activated PSC). The induction of the activated phenotype of PSC has been shown to involve a number of diverse extra- and intracellular effector molecules, including inflammatory cytokines, growth factors, ethanol, acetaldehyde, and oxidative stress.