Acinar cell-specific knockout of the PTHrP gene decreases the proinflammatory and profibrotic responses in pancreatitis

Vandanajay Bhatia, Cristiana Rastellini, Song Han, Judith F. Aronson, George H. Greeley, Miriam Falzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Pancreatitis is a necroinflammatory disease with acute and chronic manifestations. Accumulated damage incurred during repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis (AP) can lead to chronic pancreatitis (CP). Pancreatic parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) levels are elevated in a mouse model of cerulein-induced AP. Here, we show elevated PTHrP levels in mouse models of pancreatitis induced by chronic cerulein administration and pancreatic duct ligation. Because acinar cells play a major role in the pathophysiology of pancreatitis, mice with acinar cell-specific targeted disruption of the Pthrp gene (PTHrPΔacinar) were generated to assess the role of acinar cell-secreted PTHrP in pancreatitis. These mice were generated using Cre-LoxP technology and the acinar cell-specific elastase promoter. PTHrPΔacinar exerted protective effects in cerulein and pancreatic duct ligation models, evident as decreased edema, histological damage, amylase secretion, pancreatic stellate cell (PSC) activation, and extracellular matrix deposition. Treating acinar cells in vitro with cerulein increased IL-6 expression and NF-κB activity; these effects were attenuated in PTHrPΔacinar cells, as were the cerulein- and carbachol-induced elevations in amylase secretion. The cerulein-induced upregulation of procollagen I expression was lost in PSCs from PTHrPΔacinar mice. PTHrP immunostaining was elevated in human CP sections. The cerulein-induced upregulation of IL-6 and ICAM-1 (human acinar cells) and procollagen I (human PSCs) was suppressed by pretreatment with the PTH1R antagonist, PTHrP (7-34). These findings establish PTHrP as a novel mediator of inflammation and fibrosis associated with CP. Acinar cell-secreted PTHrP modulates acinar cell function via its effects on proinflammatory cytokine release and functions via a paracrine pathway to activate PSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G533-G549
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Acinar cells
  • Pancreatitis
  • Parathyroid hormone-related protein
  • Stellate cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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