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Alcohol and cigarette smoke components activate human pancreatic stellate cells: implications for the progression of chronic pancreatitis.

Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research (2015-10-16)
Alexandra T K Lee, Zhihong Xu, Srinivasa P Pothula, Mishaal B Patel, Romano C Pirola, Jeremy S Wilson, Minoti V Apte
ABSTRACT

Chronic pancreatitis, a known complication of alcohol abuse, is characterized histopathologically by prominent fibrosis. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are responsible for producing this fibrous tissue in chronic pancreatitis and are activated by alcohol. Progression of alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (as assessed by calcification and fibrosis) is thought to be facilitated by concurrent smoking, but the mechanisms are unknown. This study aimed to (a) determine whether human PSCs (hPSCs) and rat PSCs express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), which are known to bind 2 important components of cigarette smoke, namely nicotine and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK), and (b) examine the effects of cigarette smoke components in the presence and absence of alcohol on PSC activation in vitro. Western blotting was used to detect the presence of nAChRs in primary cultures of PSCs. Clinically relevant concentrations of cigarette smoke components (either cigarette smoke extract [CSE], NNK, or nicotine) ± ethanol (EtOH) were used to treat primary cultures of PSCs, and stellate cell activation was assessed by cell migration, proliferation, collagen production, and apoptosis. We demonstrate, for the first time, that PSCs express nAChRs (isoforms α3, α7, β, ε) and that the expression of the α7 isoform in hPSCs is induced by CSE + EtOH. We also provide novel findings that PSCs are activated by CSE and NNK (both alone and in combination with EtOH) as evidenced by an increase in cell migration and/or proliferation. Further, we demonstrate that activation of PSCs by CSE + EtOH and NNK + EtOH may be mediated via nAChRs on the cells. PSCs are activated by clinically relevant concentrations of cigarette smoke components (CSE and NNK), alone and in combination with EtOH. Thus, in alcoholics who smoke, progression of pancreatic fibrosis may be facilitated by the combined effects of alcohol and cigarette smoke components on hPSC behavior.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

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