We have observed pancreatic duct cell proliferation and islet regeneration in transgenic mice whose pancreata produce interferon γ (IFNg mice). We have previously demonstrated that new islet cells derive from endocrine progenitor cells in the pancreatic ducts of this model. The current study was initiated to define these endocrine progenitor cells further and to identify novel markers associated with pancreatic regeneration. Importantly, we have found that PDX-1, a transcription factor required for insulin gene transcription as well as for pancreatic development during embryogenesis, is expressed in the duct cells of IFNg mice. This striking observation suggests an important role for PDX-1 in the marked regeneration observed in IFNg mice, paralleling its critical function during ontogeny. Also demonstrated was elevated expression of the homeobox-containing protein Msx-2 in the pancreata of fetal mice as well as in adult IFNg mice, identifying this molecule as a novel marker associated with pancreatic development and regeneration as well. The identification of PDX-1 and Msx in the ducts of the IFNg transgenic pancreas but not in the ducts of the nontransgenic pancreas suggests that these molecules are associated with endocrine precursor cells in the ducts of the IFNg transgenic mouse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism