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Pancreatology. 2002;2(6):510-8.

Differences in the expression of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes between islets derived from the ventral and dorsal anlage of the pancreas.

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UNMC Eppley Research Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha 68198, USA.



Chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer have been linked to the exposure of environmental chemicals (xenobiotics), which generally require metabolic activation to highly reactive toxic or carcinogenic intermediates. The primary enzyme system involved is made up of numerous cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases (CYP). Glutathione S-transferases (GST) belong to the enzyme systems that catalyze the conjugation of the reactive intermediates produced by CYPs to less toxic or readily excretable metabolites. Because the majority of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancers develop in the organ's head, we compared the expression of selected CYP and GST enzymes between the tissues deriving from the ventral anlage (head) and dorsal anlage (corpus, tail).


A total of 20 normal pancreatic tissue specimen from organ donors and early autopsy cases were processed immunohistochemically by using antibodies to CYP 1A1, 1A2, 2B6, 2C8/9/19, 2D6, 2E1, 3A1, 3A2 and 3A4, GST-alpha, GST-mu and GST-pi, and the NADPH cytochrome P450 oxido-reductase (NA-OR), the specificity of which has been verified in our previous study by Western blot and RT-PCR analyses.


In all pancreatic regions, most of the enzymes were expressed in islet cells. However, more islets in the head region expressed CYP 2B6, 2C8/9/19, 2E1 and the NA-OR, than those in the body and tail. Moreover, the expression of CYP 2B6 and 2E1 was restricted to the pancreatic polypeptide (PP) cells, and the concentration of CYP 3A1 and 3A4 was stronger in PP cells than in other islet cells. On the other hand, GST-mu and GST-pi were expressed primarily in islet cells of the body and tail.


The greater content of xenobiotic-metabolizing and carcinogen-activating CYP enzymes and a lower expression of detoxifying GST enzymes in the head of the pancreas could be one reason for the greater susceptibility of this region for inflammatory and malignant diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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