Adipose Stem Cell Therapy Mitigates Chronic Pancreatitis via Differentiation into Acinar-like Cells in Mice.Mol Ther. 2017 11 01; 25(11):2490-2501.MT
The objective of this study was to assess the capacity of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) to mitigate disease progression in an experimental chronic pancreatitis mouse model. Chronic pancreatitis (CP) was induced in C57BL/6 mice by repeated ethanol and cerulein injection, and mice were then infused with 4 × 105 or 1 × 106 GFP+ ASCs. Pancreas morphology, fibrosis, inflammation, and presence of GFP+ ASCs in pancreases were assessed 2 weeks after treatment. We found that ASC infusion attenuated pancreatic damage, preserved pancreas morphology, and reduced pancreatic fibrosis and cell death. GFP+ ASCs migrated to pancreas and differentiated into amylase+ cells. In further confirmation of the plasticity of ASCs, ASCs co-cultured with acinar cells in a Transwell system differentiated into amylase+ cells with increased expression of acinar cell-specific genes including amylase and chymoB1. Furthermore, culture of acinar or pancreatic stellate cell lines in ASC-conditioned medium attenuated ethanol and cerulein-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production in vitro. Our data show that a single intravenous injection of ASCs ameliorated CP progression, likely by directly differentiating into acinar-like cells and by suppressing inflammation, fibrosis, and pancreatic tissue damage. These results suggest that ASC cell therapy has the potential to be a valuable treatment for patients with pancreatitis.