Pancreatic stellate cells: what's new?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play an integral role in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. With the developing knowledge of this important cell type, we are at the cusp of developing effective therapies for the above diseases based upon targeting the PSC and modulating its function.

Recent findings

The major themes of the recent PSC literature include: PSC interactions with the extracellular matrix and other stromal components; intracellular calcium physiology as drivers of mechanical interactions and necrosis; the relationship between proinflammatory, protumoural, angiogenic, and metabolic pathways in pancreatic necrosis, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis; and targeting of the stroma for antitumoural and antifibrotic effects.

Summary

Traditionally, there have been few treatment options for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. The elucidation of the wide-ranging functions of PSCs provide an opportunity for treatments based on stromal reprogramming.

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