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    Replacement of the exocrine parenchyma by fibrous tissue is a main characteristic of chronic pancreatitis. Understanding the mechanisms of pancreatic fibrogenesis is critical for the development of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a rate-limiting enzyme for prostaglandin synthesis, is expressed in patients with chronic pancreatitis. However, it is unknown whether COX-2 can cause chronic pancreatitis. To investigate the roles of pancreatic acinar COX-2 in fibrogenesis and the development of chronic pancreatitis, COX-2 was ectopically expressed specifically in pancreatic acinar cells in transgenic mice. Histopathological changes and expression levels of several profibrogenic factors related to chronic pancreatitis were evaluated. COX-2 was expressed in the pancreas of the transgenic mice, as detected by Western blot analysis. Immunohistochemical staining showed COX-2 was specifically expressed in pancreatic acinar cells. COX-2 expression led to progressive changes in the pancreas, including pancreas megaly, persistent inflammation, collagen deposition, and acinar-to-ductal metaplasia. Quantitative RT-PCR and immunostaining showed that profibrogenic factors were upregulated and pancreatic stellate cells were activated in the COX-2 transgenic mice. Expression of COX-2 in pancreatic acinar cells is sufficient to induce chronic pancreatitis. Targeting this pathway may be valuable in the prevention of chronic pancreatitis. NEW & NOTEWORTHY COX-2 expression is observed in pancreatic tissues of human chronic pancreatitis. In this study, we showed that COX-2 expression caused the development of chronic pancreatitis in transgenic mice, supporting the idea that COX-2 inhibition may be an effective preventive and therapeutic strategy.


    Haojie Huang, Jiaxiang Chen, Lisi Peng, Yao Yao, Defeng Deng, Yang Zhang, Yan Liu, Huamin Wang, Zhaoshen Li, Yan Bi, Ashley N Haddock, Xianbao Zhan, Weiqin Lu, Craig D Logsdon, Baoan Ji. Transgenic expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in pancreatic acinar cells induces chronic pancreatitis. American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology. 2019 Jan 01;316(1):G179-G186

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    PMID: 30431318

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