High-mobility group box 1 fragment ameliorates chronic pancreatitis induced by caerulein in mice

J Gastroenterol. 2024 May 10. doi: 10.1007/s00535-024-02112-z. Online ahead of print.


Background: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a progressive disease characterized by pancreatic fibrosis for which effective treatment options are lacking. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown potential for fibrosis treatment but face limitations in clinical application. The high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) fragment mobilizes MSCs from bone marrow into the blood and has emerged as a promising therapeutic agent for tissue regeneration in various pathological conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of systemic administration of the HMGB1 fragment in a mouse model of CP.

Methods: A caerulein-induced CP mouse model was used, and the HMGB1 fragment was administered by tail vein injection. Parameters such as body weight, pancreatic tissue damage, fibrosis, inflammatory cytokine expression, and collagen-related gene expression were evaluated using various assays, including immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, serum analysis, and single-cell transcriptome analysis. And the migration of MSCs to the pancreas was evaluated using the parabiosis model.

Results: Administration of the HMGB1 fragment was associated with significant improvements in pancreatic tissue damage and fibrosis. It suppressed the expression of inflammatory cytokines and activated platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α+ MSCs, leading to their accumulation in the pancreas. The HMGB1 fragment also shifted gene expression patterns associated with pancreatic fibrosis toward those of the normal pancreas. Systemic administration of the HMGB1 fragment demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in attenuating pancreatic tissue damage and fibrosis in a CP mouse model.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the potential of the HMGB1 fragment as a therapeutic target for the treatment of CP.

Keywords: Chronic pancreatitis; High-mobility group box 1; Mesenchymal stem cell; Pancreas.