Differential and synergistic effects of platelet-derived growth factor-BB and transforming growth factor-beta1 on activated pancreatic stellate cells

Claus Kordes, Stefanie Brookmann, Dieter Häussinger, Hanne Klonowski-Stumpe
Pancreas 2005, 31 (2): 156-67

OBJECTIVE: The cytokines platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 are major factors influencing the transformation from the quiescent to the activated phenotype of pancreatic stellate cells (PSC), a process involved in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis. Albeit much effort has been made to study the effects of PDGF and TGF-beta1 on PSCs, their interaction is still unclear, because these cytokines show both differential and synergistic effects as outlined by this study.

METHODS: Culture-activated PSCs of rats were treated with PDGF-BB and TGF-beta1. Subsequent changes of cell proliferation and migration were determined by cell counting, (+)-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine enzyme-linked immunosarbant assay (ELISA), and migration assay. Gene expression, synthesis of proteins, and activation of kinases were further studied by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, real-time polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, and Western blot.

RESULTS: PDGF-BB increased PSC proliferation and migration, accompanied by elevated expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-13 and MMP-3. The mRNA amount of procollagen alpha2(I), alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, and TGF-beta1 was also increased by PDGF-BB. In contrast, PDGF-BB reduced collagen type I in culture medium and synthesis of alpha-SMA. Treatment of PSC with TGF-beta1 decreased proliferation, had no significant effect on migration and MMP expression, but increased expression and synthesis of procollagen alpha2(I) and alpha-SMA. Both cytokines induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK)-1/2 and p38, but only PDGF-BB activated the protein kinase B signaling pathway.

CONCLUSION: PDGF-BB augments effects of TGF-beta1 on the mRNA level presumably because of up-regulation of TGF-beta1 synthesis and common signaling pathways of the 2 cytokines. However, at the protein level, PDGF-BB impairs typical TGF-beta1 effects such as increased synthesis of collagen (type I) and alpha-SMA. Moreover, PDGF-BB facilitates degradation of extracellular matrix proteins by enhancement of MMP synthesis, but MMP activity was probably limited because of elevated tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 expression.

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