Lysosome associated membrane proteins maintain pancreatic acinar cell homeostasis: LAMP-2 deficient mice develop pancreatitis

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Nov 1;1(6):678-694. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2015.07.006.


Background & aims: The pathogenic mechanism of pancreatitis is poorly understood. Recent evidence implicates defective autophagy in pancreatitis responses; however, the pathways mediating impaired autophagy in pancreas remain largely unknown. Here, we investigate the role of lysosome associated membrane proteins (LAMPs) in pancreatitis.

Methods: We analyzed changes in LAMPs in experimental models and human pancreatitis, and the underlying mechanisms: LAMP de-glycosylation and degradation. LAMP cleavage by cathepsin B (CatB) was analyzed by mass spectrometry. We used mice deficient in LAMP-2 to assess its role in pancreatitis.

Results: Pancreatic levels of LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 greatly decrease across various pancreatitis models and in human disease. Pancreatitis does not trigger LAMPs' bulk de-glycosylation, but induces their degradation via CatB-mediated cleavage of LAMP molecule close to the boundary between luminal and transmembrane domains. LAMP-2 null mice spontaneously develop pancreatitis that begins with acinar cell vacuolization due to impaired autophagic flux, and progresses to severe pancreas damage characterized by trypsinogen activation, macrophage-driven inflammation, and acinar cell death. LAMP-2 deficiency causes a decrease in pancreatic digestive enzymes content, stimulates the basal and inhibits CCK-induced amylase secretion by acinar cells. The effects of LAMP-2 knockout and acute cerulein pancreatitis overlap, which corroborates the pathogenic role of LAMP decrease in experimental pancreatitis models.

Conclusions: The results indicate a critical role for LAMPs, particularly LAMP-2, in maintaining pancreatic acinar cell homeostasis, and provide evidence that defective lysosomal function, resulting in impaired autophagy, leads to pancreatitis. Mice with LAMP-2 deficiency present a novel genetic model of human pancreatitis caused by lysosomal/autophagic dysfunction.

Keywords: amylase secretion; autophagy; cathepsin B; cerulein.