Nestin expression in pancreatic exocrine cell lineages

Expression of nestin has been suggested to be a characteristic of pancreatic islet stem cells. To determine whether nestin is indeed expressed in such putative cells during embryonic development, or in the adult pancreas after injury, we performed a cell lineage analysis using two independent lines of transgenic mice encoding Cre recombinase under the control of rat nestin cis-regulatory sequences, each crossed with loxP-bearing R26R mice. F1 animals produced the reporter molecule beta-galactosidase only upon Cre-mediated recombination, thus solely in cells using (or having used) the transgenic nestin promoter. In early pancreatic primordia, beta-galactosidase was observed in mesenchymal and epithelial cells. At later developmental stages or in adults, vast clusters of acinar cells and few ductal cells were labeled, in addition to fibroblasts and vascular cells, but no endocrine cells were tagged by beta-galactosidase. This correlated with the transient expression, observed with an anti-nestin antibody, of endogenous nestin in about 5% of epithelial cells during development (whether in cord-forming arrangements or in nascent acini), and in vascular and mesenchymal structures. After partial pancreatectomy, there was a transient increase of the number of anti-nestin-labeled endothelial cells, but again, no endocrine cells bore beta-galactosidase. Together, these findings show that nestin is expressed in the pancreatic exocrine cell lineage, and suggest that consistent nestin expression is not a major feature of islet endocrine progenitor cells.

Published in:
Mech Dev, 121, 1, 3-14
Department of Morphology, room 5040, University of Geneva Medical School, 1 rue Michel-Servet, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.

 Record created 2007-05-22, last modified 2018-01-28

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