Pancreatic stellate cell: physiologic role, role in fibrosis and cancer

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015 Sep;31(5):416-23. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000196.


Purpose of review: Ever since the first descriptions of methods to isolate pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) from rodent and human pancreas 17 years ago, rapid advances have been made in our understanding of the biology of these cells and their functions in health and disease. This review updates recent literature in the field, which indicates an increasingly complex role for the cells in normal pancreas, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Recent findings: Work reported over the past 12 months includes improved methods of PSC immortalization, a role for PSCs in islet fibrosis, novel factors causing PSC activation as well as those inducing quiescence, and translational research aimed at inhibiting the facilitatory effects of PSCs on disease progression in chronic pancreatitis as well as pancreatic cancer.

Summary: Improved understanding of the role of PSCs in pancreatic pathophysiology has prompted a focus on translational studies aimed at developing novel approaches to modulate PSC function in a bid to improve clinical outcomes of two major fibrotic diseases of the pancreas: chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / biosynthesis
  • Cell Communication
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Pancreatic Stellate Cells / physiology*
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Actins