Immortalization with telomerase of the Nestin-positive cells of the human pancreas

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Feb 21;301(4):1038-44. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(03)00086-x.


Cells expressing the neuronal stem cell marker Nestin are present in the human pancreas but the biological role of these cells has yet to be resolved. We report here the establishment with the catalytic subunit of human telomerase (hTERT) of a line of normal human cells representing this cell type. Primary human cells derived from the ducts of the pancreas were transduced with an hTERT cDNA. The infected cells became positive for telomerase, failed to senesce, and were still proliferating after more than 150 doublings. The immortalized cells were positive for the expression of Nestin (at both the mRNA and protein levels) and were found to be free of cancer-associated changes: diploid and expressing wild type p16(INK4a), p53, and K-Ras. An established line of normal human cells representing this cell type should be of great value to help define the biological properties of this novel cell type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Survival
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Genes, p16
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nestin
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Ducts / cytology*
  • Pancreatic Ducts / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Telomerase