Pancreatic Stellate Cells Have Distinct Characteristics From Hepatic Stellate Cells and Are Not the Unique Origin of Collagen-Producing Cells in the Pancreas

Pancreas. 2017 Oct;46(9):1141-1151. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000901.


Objectives: The origin of collagen-producing myofibroblasts in pancreatic fibrosis is still controversial. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), which have been recognized as the pancreatic counterparts of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), are thought to play an important role in the development of pancreatic fibrosis. However, sources of myofibroblasts other than PSCs may exist because extensive studies of liver fibrosis have uncovered myofibroblasts that did not originate from HSCs. This study aimed to characterize myofibroblasts in an experimental pancreatic fibrosis model in mice.

Methods: We used transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein via the collagen type I α1 promoter and induced pancreatic fibrosis with repetitive injections of cerulein.

Results: Collagen-producing cells that are negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein (ie, not derived from PSCs) exist in the pancreas. Pancreatic stellate cells had different characteristics from those of HSCs in a very small possession of vitamin A using mass spectrometry and a low expression of lecithin retinol acyltransferase. The microstructure of PSCs was entirely different from that of HSCs using flow cytometry and electron microscopy.

Conclusions: Our study showed that characteristics of PSCs are different from those of HSCs, and myofibroblasts in the pancreas might be derived not only from PSCs but also from other fibrogenic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / biosynthesis*
  • Collagen / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / cytology
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / metabolism*
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / ultrastructure
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Myofibroblasts / cytology
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / ultrastructure
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Stellate Cells / cytology
  • Pancreatic Stellate Cells / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Stellate Cells / ultrastructure


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Collagen