2017 Volume 79 Issue 12 Pages 1920-1926
Pancreatic fibrosis develops as the results of the activity of myofibroblasts capable of producing collagens. The myofibroblasts derive from pancreatic interstitial cells, including pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), which can express glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). First, we investigated the expression patterns of vimentin, desmin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), Thy-1 and GFAP in the developing rat pancreas (in fetuses at 18 and 20 days, neonates from 1 to 21 days, and adults). Interstitial cells in the developing pancreas expressed vimentin, desmin, GFAP and Thy-1 at varying degrees; interestingly, the reactivity for desmin and vimentin was the highest in fetuses. GFAP expression was consistent between fetuses and neonates, and Thy-1 reactivity transiently increased after birth; however, α-SMA-positive interstitial cells were rarely seen. Next, we analyzed the immunophenotypical characteristics of myofibroblasts appearing in pancreatic fibrosis in dogs and cats. With increasing fibrotic grade, myofibroblasts showed increased expression of vimentin, desmin and α-SMA, in addition to increased GFAP expression. Collectively, pancreatic interstitial cells and myofibroblasts may have similar immunophenotypes, and myofibroblasts might originate partly from GFAP-expressing PSCs.