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Lysosome-Associated Membrane Proteins (LAMP) Maintain Pancreatic Acinar Cell Homeostasis: LAMP-2–Deficient Mice Develop Pancreatitis


Background & aims

The pathogenic mechanism of pancreatitis is poorly understood. Recent evidence implicates defective autophagy in pancreatitis responses; however, the pathways mediating impaired autophagy in pancreas remain largely unknown. Here, we investigate the role of lysosome associated membrane proteins (LAMPs) in pancreatitis.


We analyzed changes in LAMPs in experimental models and human pancreatitis, and the underlying mechanisms: LAMP de-glycosylation and degradation. LAMP cleavage by cathepsin B (CatB) was analyzed by mass spectrometry. We used mice deficient in LAMP-2 to assess its role in pancreatitis.


Pancreatic levels of LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 greatly decrease across various pancreatitis models and in human disease. Pancreatitis does not trigger LAMPs' bulk de-glycosylation, but induces their degradation via CatB-mediated cleavage of LAMP molecule close to the boundary between luminal and transmembrane domains. LAMP-2 null mice spontaneously develop pancreatitis that begins with acinar cell vacuolization due to impaired autophagic flux, and progresses to severe pancreas damage characterized by trypsinogen activation, macrophage-driven inflammation, and acinar cell death. LAMP-2 deficiency causes a decrease in pancreatic digestive enzymes content, stimulates the basal and inhibits CCK-induced amylase secretion by acinar cells. The effects of LAMP-2 knockout and acute cerulein pancreatitis overlap, which corroborates the pathogenic role of LAMP decrease in experimental pancreatitis models.


The results indicate a critical role for LAMPs, particularly LAMP-2, in maintaining pancreatic acinar cell homeostasis, and provide evidence that defective lysosomal function, resulting in impaired autophagy, leads to pancreatitis. Mice with LAMP-2 deficiency present a novel genetic model of human pancreatitis caused by lysosomal/autophagic dysfunction.

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