Possible involvement of Enterococcus infection in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis and cancer

Tomohiro Maekawa, Risako Fukaya, Shinji Takamatsu, Saki Itoyama, Tomoya Fukuoka, Makoto Yamada, Tomoki Hata, Satoshi Nagaoka, Koichi Kawamoto, Hidetoshi Eguchi, Kohei Murata, Takashi Kumada, Toshifumi Ito, Masahiro Tanemura, Kahoko Fujimoto, Yasuhiko Tomita, Toru Tobe, Yoshihiro Kamada, Eiji Miyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


(Aim) Bacterial infection underlies the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including acute and chronic inflammation. Here, we investigated a possible role for bacterial infection in the progression of chronic pancreatitis. (Materials and Methods) Pancreatic juice was obtained from patients with pancreatic cancer (n = 20) or duodenal cancer/bile duct cancer (n = 16) and subjected to PCR using universal primers for the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Bacterial species were identified by PCR using bile samples from four pancreatic cancer patients. PCR products were subcloned into T-vectors, and the sequences were then analyzed. Immunohistochemical and serologic analyses for Enterococcus faecalis infection were performed on a large cohort of healthy volunteers and patients with chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer and on mice with caerulein-induced chronic pancreatitis. The effect of E. faecalis antigens on cytokine secretion by pancreatic cancer cells was also investigated. (Results) We found that 29 of 36 pancreatic juice samples were positive for bacterial DNA. Enterococcus and Enterobacter species were detected primarily in bile, which is thought to be a pathway for bacterial infection of the pancreas. Enterococcus faecalis was also detected in pancreatic tissue from chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer patients; antibodies to E. faecalis capsular polysaccharide were elevated in serum from chronic pancreatitis patients. Enterococcus-specific antibodies and pancreatic tissue–associated E. faecalis were detected in mice with caerulein-induced chronic pancreatitis. Addition of Enterococcus lipoteichoic acid and heat-killed bacteria induced expression of pro-fibrotic cytokines by pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. (Conclusion) Infection with E. faecalis may be involved in chronic pancreatitis progression, ultimately leading to development of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-969
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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