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J Cell Biol. 2003 Nov 24;163(4):859-69.

The stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha/CXCR4 ligand-receptor axis is critical for progenitor survival and migration in the pancreas.

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Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 ligand/chemokine receptor pair is required for appropriate patterning during ontogeny and stimulates the growth and differentiation of critical cell types. Here, we demonstrate SDF-1alpha and CXCR4 expression in fetal pancreas. We have found that SDF-1alpha and its receptor CXCR4 are expressed in islets, also CXCR4 is expressed in and around the proliferating duct epithelium of the regenerating pancreas of the interferon (IFN) gamma-nonobese diabetic mouse. We show that SDF-1alpha stimulates the phosphorylation of Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and Src in pancreatic duct cells. Furthermore, migration assays indicate a stimulatory effect of SDF-1alpha on ductal cell migration. Importantly, blocking the SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 axis in IFNgamma-nonobese diabetic mice resulted in diminished proliferation and increased apoptosis in the pancreatic ductal cells. Together, these data indicate that the SDF-1alpha-CXCR4 ligand receptor axis is an obligatory component in the maintenance of duct cell survival, proliferation, and migration during pancreatic regeneration.

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