Primary explant cultures of adult and embryonic pancreas

Methods Mol Med. 2005;103:259-71. doi: 10.1385/1-59259-780-7:259.


The developmental plasticity of adult pancreas is evidenced by the ability to undergo conversion between different epithelial cell types. Specific examples of such conversions include acinar to ductal metaplasia, ductal to islet metaplasia, and generation of ductal structures within islets. Although 90% of human pancreatic cancers are classified as ductal adenocarcinoma, markers of all pancreatic epithelial cell types (acini, ductal, and endocrine) as well as markers of gastric and intestinal lineages can be detected in these tumors. In recent years considerable knowledge has been gained regarding regulation of cellular differentiation and various signaling pathways involved in normal and neoplastic pancreas through studies of pancreatic cancer and immortalized ductal cell lines. However, these studies provide little insight into the context of normal developmental cues, the disruption of which leads to organ pathology. Here we have described a detailed method for preparation, maintenance, and manipulation of adult and embryonic mouse pancreas. These methods may be utilized in studies involving normal epithelial differentiation, contributing to improved understanding of pancreatic development and disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / embryology
  • Rats