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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Feb 21;301(4):1038-44.

Immortalization with telomerase of the Nestin-positive cells of the human pancreas.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986805 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.


Cells expressing the neuronal stem cell marker Nestin are present in the human pancreas but the biological role of these cells has yet to be resolved. We report here the establishment with the catalytic subunit of human telomerase (hTERT) of a line of normal human cells representing this cell type. Primary human cells derived from the ducts of the pancreas were transduced with an hTERT cDNA. The infected cells became positive for telomerase, failed to senesce, and were still proliferating after more than 150 doublings. The immortalized cells were positive for the expression of Nestin (at both the mRNA and protein levels) and were found to be free of cancer-associated changes: diploid and expressing wild type p16(INK4a), p53, and K-Ras. An established line of normal human cells representing this cell type should be of great value to help define the biological properties of this novel cell type.

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