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Am J Pathol. 2002 May;160(5):1787-98.

Expression of transforming growth factor-beta 1 by pancreatic stellate cells and its implications for matrix secretion and turnover in chronic pancreatitis.

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Divisions of Infection, Inflammation, and Repair, Cellular Pathology, and Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom.

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Pancreatic stellate cells mediate fibrosis in chronic pancreatitis. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs)-1 and -2 are crucial modulators of fibrosis. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a key regulator of extracellular matrix production and myofibroblast proliferation. We have examined MMP and TIMP synthesis by transformed cultured pancreatic stellate cells and their regulation by TGF-beta 1. By Northern analysis they expressed mRNAs for procollagen 1, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, and MMP-2. Expression of membrane type-1 MMP was confirmed by Western blotting. By immunohistochemistry these enzymes localized to fibrotic areas in human chronic pancreatitis. Active TGF-beta 1 constitutes 2 to 5% of total TGF-beta 1 secreted by pancreatic stellate cells; they express TGF-beta receptors I and II. Exogenous TGF-beta 1 (10 ng/ml) significantly increased procollagen-1 mRNA by 69% and collagen protein synthesis by 34%. Similarly TGF-beta 1 at 0.1, 1, and 10 ng/ml significantly reduced cellular proliferation rate by 37%, 44%, and 44%, respectively, whereas pan-TGF-beta-neutralizing antibody increased proliferation by 40%. TGF-beta1 (10 ng/ml) down-regulated MMP-9 by 54% and MMP-3 by 34% whereas TGF-beta 1-neutralizing antibody increased MMP-9 expression by 39%. Pancreatic stellate cells express both mediators of matrix remodeling and the regulatory cytokine TGF-beta 1 that, by autocrine inhibition of MMP-3 and MMP-9, may enhance fibrogenesis by reducing collagen degradation.

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