In response to pancreatic injury and in cell culture, pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are transformed ("activated") into highly proliferative myofibroblast-like cells that express α-smooth muscle actin and produce extracellular matrix components. Activated PSCs are implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic fibrosis and inflammation. We here evaluated the effects of SP600125 (anthra[1,9-cd]pyrazole-6 (2H)-one), an inhibitor of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), on the activation of PSCs. PSCs were isolated from rat pancreas tissue and used in their culture-activated, myofibroblast-like phenotype unless otherwise stated. Activation of JNK was determined by Western blotting using anti-phosphospecific JNK and c-Jun antibodies. Activation of transcription factors was determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The effects of SP600125 on the key parameters of activation (chemokine production, collagen production, and proliferation) were examined. The effect of SP600125 on the activation of freshly isolated PSCs in culture also was examined. Interleukin-1β activated both 46- and 54-kDa JNK, whereas platelet-derived growth factor-BB activated only 46-kDa JNK. SP600125 inhibited interleukin-1β-induced JNK activity and activator protein-1 activation, but it did not affect the activation of extracellular-regulated kinase, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and nuclear factor-κB. SP600125 inhibited platelet-derived growth factor-induced proliferation, inducible monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 production, and serum-induced type I collagen production. Although SP600125 did not inhibit the transformation, it attenuated the proliferation of freshly isolated PSCs in culture. Collectively, our results suggest a role of JNK in the activation of PSCs, and a potential application of JNK inhibitors for the treatment of pancreatic fibrosis and inflammation.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
|Published - 2004 Aug