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Mech Dev. 1999 Sep;87(1-2):217-21.

Early appearance of pancreatic hormone-expressing cells in the zebrafish embryo.

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Dipartimento di Biologia, Universita di Padova, Via U. Bassi 58/B, 1-35131, Padova, Italy.


Adult pancreatic islets comprise four cell types, alpha, beta, delta and PP, expressing glucagon, insulin, somatostatin and pancreatic-polypeptide, respectively, arising from cell lineages whose relationships during endocrine pancreas differentiation are still uncertain [Edlund, 1998. Diabetes 47, 1817-1823]. As zebrafish (Danio rerio) represents an attractive vertebrate model to study mutants affecting pancreatic organogenesis [Pack et al., 1996. Development 123, 321-328], we have investigated the expression patterns of islet hormones in zebrafish embryos, from the 16-somite (17 h) to 48-h stages, by whole-mount in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence. Results showed that in the zebrafish pancreatic primordium (a) insulin is the first hormone gene to be expressed, and (b) somatostatin colocalizes with insulin while glucagon-expressing cells, since their appearance, are distinct from insulin- or insulin/somatostatin-expressing cells. Notably, both somatostatin and glucagon, but not insulin, are first expressed in extrapancreatic regions.

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