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Am J Pathol. 2013 Mar;182(3):965-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.11.016.

Risk factors for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma specifically stimulate pancreatic duct glands in mice.

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  • 1Institute for Experimental Surgery, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.

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  • Am J Pathol. 2013 Jul;183(1):326.


Diabetes mellitus type 2 and chronic pancreatitis are regarded as risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic duct glands (PDGs) were recently described as a new compartment of the major duct in humans and mice. To evaluate the influence of diabetes and chronic pancreatitis on PDGs, cerulein was injected i.p., repetitively over 10 weeks, in mice exhibiting obesity and a type 2 diabetes-like syndrome (B6.V-Lep(ob/ob)) and in lean littermates. By using 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU), a label-retaining cell population was characterized in PDGs. Cerulein administration led to more BrdU(+) cells in PDGs of obese mice compared with lean mice. The observed increase was specific to PDGs, because BrdU incorporation in cells of the pancreatic duct was not increased. In addition, the expression of distinct tumor markers in PDGs was characterized by Muc5ac, S100P, regenerating islet-derived 3β, 14-3-3 σ, and prostate stem cell antigen immunochemistry. Type 2 diabetes-like syndrome, accompanied by chronic pancreatitis, enhanced nuclear localization of S100P. Both risk factors for pancreatic cancer also induced the production of Muc5ac and the nuclear localization of S100P [corrected]. These results demonstrate that diabetes and chronic pancreatitis jointly enhance BrdU incorporation and production of pancreatic cancer-specific proteins in PDGs. The observed alterations suggest that pancreatic tumors might originate from the newly discovered histomorphological structures, called PDGs, which could represent a target for future anticancer therapies.

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