Background/aims: Pancreatic endocrine cells are multifunctional, differentiated cells originating from the differentiation of foregut endodermal precursors. Identification and transplantation of endocrine precursor cells appear to be the ultimate solution to diabetes mellitus, which requires lifelong treatment. Knowledge about specific markers that are used in the determination of precursor cells is limited.
Methodology: In this study, the expression of nestin in well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (n = 17) was investigated. In addition, developmental characteristics of nestin expression in the fetal (n = 5) and adult pancreas (n = 5) were examined.
Results: Findings indicated that nestin is expressed in proliferating and metabolically active cells, such as endothelium, independent of developmental and neoplastic processes, rather than endocrine precursor cells of the pancreas.
Conclusions: In this study, it was concluded that nestin cannot be used as the only marker to identify pancreatic endocrine cell precursors for transplantation.