Article Title

Isolation of quiescent human pancreatic stellate cells: A promising in vitro tool for studies of human pancreatic stellate cell biology


Background: Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play a critical role in pancreatic fibrosis. To date, human PSC biology has been studied using cancer- or inflammation-associated (pre-activated) PSCs, but an in vitro model of quiescent normal human PSCs (NhPSCs) has been lacking.

Aims: To (i) isolate and characterize quiescent NhPSCs, and (ii) evaluate the response of culture-activated NhPSCs to cytokines and LPS. Methods: Quiescent NhPSCs were isolated from normal pancreatic tissue using density gradient centrifugation. PSC markers, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), desmin, α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptors TLR4 and CD14 were identified by immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry. The effect of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and LPS on NhPSC activation was also assessed.

Results: Freshly isolated NhPSCs displayed a polygonal appearance with refringent cytoplasmic lipid droplets. Culture-activated NhPSCs expressed GFAP, desmin, αSMA, TLR4 and CD14, and were responsive to PDGF, TGFβ and LPS.

Conclusion: Isolated NhPSCs expressed the same markers as rat PSCs and human cancer-associated PSCs and responded to PDGF and TGFβ similarly to rat PSCs. NhPSC preparations provide a useful in vitro tool to study the biology of PSCs in their physiological, non-activated state.


peer-reviewed, human pancreatic stellate cells, quiescent, activation, pancreatic stellate cells

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