Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gastroenterology. 2010 Aug;139(2):609-19, 619.e1-6. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.04.050. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

Regulator of calcineurin 1 controls growth plasticity of adult pancreas.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, The University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Growth of exocrine pancreas is regulated by gastrointestinal hormones, notably cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK-driven pancreatic growth requires calcineurin (CN), which activates Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFATs), but the genetic underpinnings and feedback mechanisms that regulate this response are not known.


Pancreatic growth was stimulated by protease inhibitor (PI)-containing chow, which induces secretion of endogenous CCK. Expression profiling of PI stimulation was performed on Affymetrix 430A chips, and CN was inhibited via FK506. Exocrine pancreas-specific overexpression of CN inhibitor Regulator of Calcineurin 1 (Rcan1) was achieved by breeding elastase-Cre(estrogen receptor [ER]) transgenics with "flox-on" Rcan1 mice.


CN inhibitor FK506 blocked expression of 38 genes, as confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The CN-dependent genes were linked to growth-related processes, whereas their promoters were enriched in NFAT and NFAT/AP1 sites. Multiple NFAT targets, including Rcan1, Rgs2, HB-EGF, Lif, and Gem, were validated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. One of these, a CN feedback inhibitor Rcan1, was induced >50 fold during 1-8 hours course of pancreatic growth and strongly inhibited (>99%) by FK506. To examine its role in pancreatic growth, we overexpressed Rcan1 in an inducible, acinar-specific fashion. Rcan1 overexpression inhibited CN-NFAT signaling, as shown using an NFAT-luciferase reporter and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Most importantly, the increase in exocrine pancreas size, protein/DNA content, and acinar proliferation were all blocked in Rcan1 overexpressing mice.


We profile adaptive pancreatic growth, identify Rcan1 as an important new feedback regulator, and firmly establish that CN-NFAT signaling is required for this response.

Copyright (c) 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk