Transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) is a multifunctional factor that regulates many aspects of cellular functions such as epithelial cell growth and synthesis of extracellular matrices. TGFβ transduces signaling through a heterodimeric complex of type I and type II TGFβ receptors (TβRI and TβRII). Recently, it has been shown that enhanced expression of TGFβ1 is associated with the progress of pancreatic duct cell carcinoma (PDC) and chronic pancreatitis (CP). In this study, the expression of TGFβ1 and its receptors, TβRI and TβRII, is examined in 21 cases of PDC by immunohistochemistry using specific antibodies, and the results are compared with those for 13 cases of CP. In the epithelial cells of PDC and CP, there are no significant differences in the expression of TGFβ1, TβRI, and TβRII. In contrast, stromal expression of this cytokine and its receptors tends to be stronger in PDC than in CP; especially, the expression of TβRII is significantly stronger in PDC (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that there are some pathological differences in the properties of stromal reactions between PDC and CP, although the morphologies of their stroma resemble each other.
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