Developmental biology of the pancreas: a comprehensive review

Dev Biol. 2009 Feb 1;326(1):4-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.10.024. Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Pancreatic development represents a fascinating process in which two morphologically distinct tissue types must derive from one simple epithelium. These two tissue types, exocrine (including acinar cells, centro-acinar cells, and ducts) and endocrine cells serve disparate functions, and have entirely different morphology. In addition, the endocrine tissue must become disconnected from the epithelial lining during its development. The pancreatic development field has exploded in recent years, and numerous published reviews have dealt specifically with only recent findings, or specifically with certain aspects of pancreatic development. Here I wish to present a more comprehensive review of all aspects of pancreatic development, though still there is not a room for discussion of stem cell differentiation to pancreas, nor for discussion of post-natal regeneration phenomena, two important fields closely related to pancreatic development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Blood Vessels / embryology
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / embryology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm / blood supply
  • Mesoderm / embryology
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Notochord / cytology
  • Notochord / embryology
  • Notochord / metabolism
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / embryology*
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antigens, Differentiation