In human pancreas two genes, reg I alpha and reg I beta, have been characterized but only the reg I alpha protein has been isolated from human pancreatic secretion. To examine their respective physiological roles in fetal and adult pancreas we have compared the patterns of gene expression using a specific RT-PCR method. No progressive evolution in the two mRNAs levels was observed during fetal development (16--41 weeks). A discoordinate expression of the two genes was found with a higher level of reg I alpha mRNA in fetus and a higher level of regI beta in adult. In addition, if reg I alpha mRNA level was correlated with the expression of genes encoding exocrine proteins in adults, reg I beta mRNA level presented no correlation with any ductular, endocrine, or exocrine gene expression. In human pancreatic cell lines we showed the only expression of reg I beta gene and protein. All these data suggest that the two reg genes and proteins could play different roles in the pancreas.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.