Pancreatic stellate cell models for transcriptional studies of desmoplasia-associated genes

Angela Mathison, Ann Liebl, Jinai Bharucha, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Gwen Lomberk, Vijay Shah, Raul Urrutia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Pancreatic stellate cells are emerging as key players in pathophysiopathological processes underlying the development of pancreatic disease, including pancreatitis and cancer. The cells are scarce in the pancreas making their isolation time and resource use consuming. Methods: Therefore, with the ultimate goal of facilitating mechanistic studies, here we report the isolation, characterization, and immortalization of stellate cell lines from rat and mouse origin. Results: These cell lines display morphological and molecular markers as well as non-tumorigenic characteristics similar to the frequently used hepatic counterparts. In addition, we have tested their robustness as a model for transcriptional regulatory studies. We find that these cells respond well to TGFβ signaling by triggering a distinct cascade of gene expression, some genes overlap with the TGFβ response of LX2 cells. These cells express several key chromatin proteins and epigenetic regulators involved in the regulation of gene expression, including co-repressors such as Sin3A (short-term repression), HP1 (long-term repression), as well as CBP/p300 (activation). Furthermore, these cells are well suited for Gal4-based transcriptional activation and repression assays. Conclusions: The cell model reported here may therefore help fuel investigations in the field of signaling, transcription, and perhaps other studies on similarly exciting cellular processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Cancer
  • Desmoplasia
  • Epigenetics
  • Pancreatic stellate cells
  • Transcription factors
  • Transforming growth factor-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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