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Microsc Res Tech. 1998 Nov 15;43(4):284-91.

On the development of the islets of Langerhans.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Studies of pancreatic development have suggested that the islet cells develop through multihormonal stages. Abundant data have confirmed that multihormonal cells are common during pancreatic development. A number of transcription factors and homeotic proteins have also been found to be important to pancreatic and islet cell development. While one of these factors (Isl1) is important for the development of the dorsal pancreatic bud and mesenchyme, another factor (Pdx1) is needed for growth and branching of both pancreatic buds. Studies of the expression patterns of pancreatic hormones and transcription factors and other marker proteins seem at present to be most compatible with the view that early glucagon and glucagon + insulin expressing cells are precursors to the glucagon cells of the islets while mature B cells arise through differentiation from glucagon-negative precursor cells. Recent data also point to possibilities of local paracrine interactions between islet cell types and the parenchymal tissue during development.

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