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Stem Cells. 2008 Nov;26(11):2912-20. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2008-0192. Epub 2008 Aug 14.

Enrichment of putative pancreatic progenitor cells from mice by sorting for prominin1 (CD133) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Center of Excellence for Signal Transduction Disease, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.


Success in islet transplantation-based therapies for type 1 diabetes mellitus and an extreme shortage of pancreatic islets have motivated recent efforts to develop renewable sources of islet-replacement tissue. Although pancreatic progenitor cells hold a promising potential, only a few attempts have been made at the prospective isolation of pancreatic stem/progenitor cells, because of the lack of specific markers and the development of effective cell culture methods. We found that prominin1 (also known as CD133) recognized the undifferentiated epithelial cells, whereas platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFRbeta) was expressed on the mesenchymal cells in the mouse embryonic pancreas. We then developed an isolation method for putative stem/progenitor cells by flow cytometric cell sorting and characterized their potential for differentiation to pancreatic tissue using both in vitro and in vivo protocols. Flow cytometry and the subsequent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and microarray analysis revealed pancreatic epithelial progenitor cells to be highly enriched in the prominin1(high)PDGFRbeta(-) cell population. During in vivo differentiation, these cell populations were able to differentiate into endocrine, exocrine, and ductal tissues, including the formation of an insulin-producing cell cluster. We established the prospective isolation of putative pancreatic epithelial progenitor cells by sorting for prominin1 and PDGFRbeta. Since this strategy is based on the cell surface markers common to human and rodents, these findings may lead to the development of new strategies to derive transplantable islet-replacement tissues from human pancreatic stem/progenitor cells. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

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