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Eur J Cell Biol. 1992 Oct;59(1):80-91.

An amphicrine pancreatic cell line: AR42J cells combine exocrine and neuroendocrine properties.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Free University of Berlin Medical School, Germany.


The permanent cell culture line AR42J, derived from a rat pancreatic acinar carcinoma, is widely used for functional studies of exocrine pancreatic acinar cells. We now present evidence that these cells are amphicrine in that they contain zymogen granules as well as small (40-80 nm) neuroendocrine (NE) vesicles and typical neurotransmitters. Using the small NE vesicle-specific markers synaptophysin and "protein S.V.2", including synaptophysin cDNA probes, we have found that AR42J cells synthesize these proteins and contain vesicles harboring these proteins with biophysical properties similar to those of small NE vesicles. NE properties of these cells are further indicated by the presence of considerable amounts of stored amino acids (gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glycine, glutamate) and by the presence of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme, glutamic acid decarboxylase. Finally, intermediate filament (IF) protein typing showed only cytokeratins 8 and 18, indicating that AR42J cells possess an IF protein complement indistinguishable from that of acinar and islet cells. Our results document the unusual case of a permanent cell line with combined exocrine and neuroendocrine properties that may be indicative of a derivation from a cell with multipotential character.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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