Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of acute pancreatitis is largely based on studies using rodents. To assess similar mechanisms in humans, we performed ex vivo pancreatitis studies in human acini isolated from cadaveric pancreata from organ donors. Because data on these human acinar preparations are sparse, we assessed their functional integrity and cellular and organellar morphology using light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy; and their proteome by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Acinar cell responses to the muscarinic agonist carbachol (CCh) and the bile acid taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate were also analyzed. Proteomic analysis of acini from donors of diverse ethnicity showed similar profiles of digestive enzymes and proteins involved in translation, secretion, and endolysosomal function. Human acini preferentially expressed the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M3 and maintained physiological responses to CCh for at least 20 hours. As in rodent acini, human acini exposed to toxic concentrations of CCh and taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate responded with trypsinogen activation, decreased cell viability, organelle damage manifest by mitochondrial depolarization, disordered autophagy, and pathological endoplasmic reticulum stress. Human acini also secreted inflammatory mediators elevated in acute pancreatitis patients, including IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, chemokine (C-C motif) ligands 2 and 3, macrophage inhibitory factor, and chemokines mediating neutrophil and monocyte infiltration. In conclusion, human cadaveric pancreatic acini maintain physiological functions and have similar pathological responses and organellar disorders with pancreatitis-causing treatments as observed in rodent acini.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine