An illustrated review of early pancreas development in the mouse

Endocr Rev. 2007 Oct;28(6):685-705. doi: 10.1210/er.2007-0016. Epub 2007 Sep 19.


Pancreas morphogenesis and cell differentiation are highly conserved among vertebrates during fetal development. The pancreas develops through simple budlike structures on the primitive gut tube to a highly branched organ containing many specialized cell types. This review presents an overview of key molecular components and important signaling sources illustrated by an extensive three-dimensional (3D) imaging of the developing mouse pancreas at single cell resolution. The 3D documentation covers the time window between embryonic days 8.5 and 14.5 in which all the pancreatic cell types become specified and therefore includes gene expression patterns of pancreatic endocrine hormones, exocrine gene products, and essential transcription factors. The 3D perspective provides valuable insight into how a complex organ like the pancreas is formed and a perception of ventral and dorsal pancreatic growth that is otherwise difficult to uncover. We further discuss how this global analysis of the developing pancreas confirms and extends previous studies, and we envisage that this type of analysis can be instrumental for evaluating mutant phenotypes in the future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development
  • Mice / embryology*
  • Pancreas / embryology*
  • Pancreas, Exocrine / embryology
  • Peptide Hormones / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Peptide Hormones
  • Transcription Factors