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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1976 Dec;36(3):711-24.

Ultrastructural analysis of some functional aspects of Xenopus laevis pancreas during development and metamorphosis.


Morphological studies using both light and electron microscope were carried out with the aim of characterizing cells present in the larval and adult pancreas of Xenopus laevis. The following cell types have been seen: (1) exocrine cells, with a very well developed r.e.r. (rough endoplasmic reticulum), well defined Golgi complexes and numerous large secretory granules (A cells); (2) cells without either r.e.r. or secretory granules but with a large number of well developed mitochondria (B cells); (3) endocrine cells often clustered in the typical islets and with small membrane-coated granules showing a very dense central core surrounded by a light halo (C cells). During development, the aspect is seen to change from an unorganized tissue in which the acinar structures are still not clearly visible (stage 42), to a more organized form in which the exocrine cells (A cells) are seen to be arranged around the lumen of the acinus together with some B cells. At the stages 54-56, an increasing number of acini surrounded both by A and B cells was observed. At about stage 61, large quantities of necrotic cells were seen and it became more difficult to individualize the acinar organization found in the preceding stages. Finally, there are no necrotic cells in the adult but only A, B cells which are organized in well developed acinar structures and C cells. The investigation also included a study of some pancreatic enzymes (lipase and amylase) synthesized during larval life. Lipase activity shows a peak at stage 54-56 in which the most well organized tissue of the entire larval life was observed. The activity then decreases, reaching a minimum at stage 66, after which it rapidly rises. Maximum amylase activity occurs at stage 51 after which there is a decrease, to a minimum at stage 66. The activity then remains at constant level.

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