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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21753. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021753. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Impaired spleen formation perturbs morphogenesis of the gastric lobe of the pancreas.

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  • 1Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Despite the extensive use of the mouse as a model for studies of pancreas development and disease, the development of the gastric pancreatic lobe has been largely overlooked. In this study we use optical projection tomography to provide a detailed three-dimensional and quantitative description of pancreatic growth dynamics in the mouse. Hereby, we describe the epithelial and mesenchymal events leading to the formation of the gastric lobe of the pancreas. We show that this structure forms by perpendicular growth from the dorsal pancreatic epithelium into a distinct lateral domain of the dorsal pancreatic mesenchyme. Our data support a role for spleen organogenesis in the establishment of this mesenchymal domain and in mice displaying perturbed spleen development, including Dh +/-, Bapx1-/- and Sox11-/-, gastric lobe development is disturbed. We further show that the expression profile of markers for multipotent progenitors is delayed in the gastric lobe as compared to the splenic and duodenal pancreatic lobes. Altogether, this study provides new information regarding the developmental dynamics underlying the formation of the gastric lobe of the pancreas and recognizes lobular heterogeneities regarding the time course of pancreatic cellular differentiation. Collectively, these data are likely to constitute important elements in future interpretations of the developing and/or diseased pancreas.

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