Bone morphogenetic protein signaling protects against cerulein-induced pancreatic fibrosis

Xuxia Gao, Yanna Cao, Dustin A. Staloch, Michael A. Gonzales, Judith F. Aronson, Celia Chao, Mark R. Hellmich, Tien C. Ko

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18 Scopus citations


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have an anti-fibrogenic function in the kidney, lung, and liver. However, their role in chronic pancreatitis (CP) is unknown. The aim of this study was to define the anti-fibrogenic role of BMP signaling in the pancreas in vivo under CP induction. Mice with a deletion of BMP type II receptor (BMPR2+/-) were used in this study in comparison with wild-type mice. CP was induced by repetitive cerulein injection intraperitoneally for 4 weeks, and the severity of CP was evaluated. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) were isolated from the mice and treated with BMP2 and TGF-β in vitro, and extracellular matrix protein (ECM) production was measured. Smad and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling was also evaluated. BMPR2+/- mice revealed a greater pancreatic fibrosis, PSC activation and leukocyte infiltration after CP induction compared to wild-type mice (P<0.05). Under CP induction, phospho (p)Smad1/5/8 was elevated in wildtype mice and this effect was abolished in BMPR2+/- mice; pSmad2 and pp38MAPK were further enhanced in BMPR2+/- mice compared to wild-type mice (P<0.05). In vitro, BMP2 inhibited TGF-β-induced ECM protein fibronectin production in wild-type PSCs; this effect was abolished in BMPR2+/- PSCs (P<0.05). In BMPR2 +/- PSCs, pSmad1/5/8 level was barely detectable upon BMP2 stimulation, while pSmad2 level was further enhanced by TGF-β stimulation, compared to wild-type PSCs ( P<0.05). BMPR2/Smad1/5/8 signaling plays a protective role against cerulein-induced pancreatic fibrosis by inhibiting Smad2 and p38MAPK signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere89114
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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