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Organogenesis. 2004 Oct;1(2):45-51.

Foregut Mesenchyme Contributes Cells to Islets during Pancreatic Development in a 3-Dimensional Avian Model.

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Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratory; Nuffield Department of Surgery; University of Oxford; Oxford, UK.


Current interest in the potential use of pancreatic stem-cells in the treatment of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus has led to increased research into normal pancreatic development. Pancreatic organogenesis involves branching morphogenesis of undifferentiated epithelium within surrounding mesenchyme. Current understanding is that the pancreatic islets develop exclusively from the epithelium of the embryonic buds. However, a cellular contribution to islets by mesenchyme has not been conclusively excluded. We present evidence that the mesenchyme of both the dorsal pancreatic bud and stomach rudiment make a substantial contribution of cells to islets during development in a three-dimensional avian model. These data suggest that mesenchyme can be a source not only of signals but also of cells for the definitive epithelia, making pancreatic organogenesis more akin to that of the kidney than to other endodermal organs. This raises the possibility for the use of mesenchymal cells as stem-or progenitor-cells for islet transplantation.


3-dimensional; chick-quail; development; endocrine; epithelium; islets; mesenchyme; pancreas; stem-cells; stomach

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