Milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) is a secreted glycoprotein that regulates tissue homeostasis, possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties, and protects against tissue injury. The human pancreas expresses MFG-E8; however, the role of MFG-E8 in the pancreas remains unclear. We examined the expression of MFG-E8 in the pancreas at baseline and during cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice and determined whether MFG-E8 attenuates the progression of pancreatitis, a serious inflammatory condition that can be life-threatening. We administered cerulein to wild-type (WT) and Mfge8 knockout (KO) mice to induce pancreatitis. Immunoblot analysis showed that MFG-E8 is constitutively expressed in the murine pancreas and is increased in mice with cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis. In situ hybridization revealed that ductal epithelial cells in the mouse pancreas express Mfge8 transcripts at baseline. During pancreatitis, Mfge8 transcripts were abundantly expressed in acinar cells and endothelial cells in addition to ductal epithelial cells. Knocking out Mfge8 in mice exacerbated the severity of cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis and delayed its resolution. In contrast, administration of recombinant MFG-E8 attenuated cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis and promoted repair of pancreatic injury in Mfge8 KO mice. Taken together, our study suggests that MFG-E8 protects the pancreas against inflammatory injury and promotes pancreatic tissue repair. MFG-E8 may represent a novel therapeutic target in acute pancreatitis.
- Cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis
- Mfge8 knockout mouse
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