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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1998 May;110(2):182-95.

An immunohistochemical and morphometric analysis of insulin, insulin-like growth factor I, glucagon, somatostatin, and PP in the development of the gastro-entero-pancreatic system of Xenopus laevis.

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Institute of Anatomy, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


The ontogeny of the classical islet hormones insulin (INS), glucagon (GLUC), somatostatin (SOM), and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) as well as insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in the gastro-entero-pancreatic (GEP) system of Xenopus laevis (stages 41-66) was studied using double immunofluorescence and morphometric analysis. As early as stage 41, clustered INS-immunoreactive (-IR) and isolated GLUC-IR cells occurred in the pancreas. The first SOM-IR cells appeared at stage 43, followed by PP-IR cells at stage 46. About 79% of the PP immunoreactivity was confined to a subpopulation of the GLUC-IR cells. Both the GLUC/PP-IR cells and the PP-IR cells were located in a distinct area of the pancreas. The first islets occurred in premetamorphosis (around stage 50) and comprised mainly INS-IR and GLUC-IR cells. The majority of SOM-IR, PP-IR, and GLUC/PP-IR cells was dispersed. The numbers of hormone cells remained quite constant until the end of prometamorphosis (stage 58). Around stages 60-62, the islets were partly disintegrated and the numbers of islet cells slightly decreased. At stage 63, the cell number began to increase and reached the levels typical for the adult around stage 66. After metamorphic climax, the islets were reformed. In the gastrointestinal tract, transient INS-IR cells occurred prior to the adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract to feeding (stages 41-44) and during metamorphosis when there is remodeling of the gastrointestinal tract (stages 60-63). Therefore, INS released from the transient mucosal INS-IR cells may be involved in the temporary proliferation of mucosal epithelial cells. The first GLUC-IR and SOM-IR cells were seen at stage 41. PP-IR cells followed at stage 46. In contrast to the islets, GLUC-IR and PP-IR cells constituted different cell populations. Around stage 46, the first IGF-I immunoreactions appeared in the GEP-system. In pancreas, IGF-I immunoreactivity was found in the GLUC/PP-IR, cells (85-99%) but was absent from INS-IR, GLUC-IR, and SOM-IR cells. The IGF-I-IR gastro-entero-endocrine cells, however, seemed to contain none of the classical islet hormones.

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