The vitamin A-storing cells in the human and rat pancreas

Kurume Med J. 1990;37(2):67-81. doi: 10.2739/kurumemedj.37.67.


Vitamin A-storing cells with lipid droplets and fluorescence characteristic of vitamin A were observed in the normal human and rat pancreas, using light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy. Vitamin A-storing cells in the normal human pancreas, as well as in the rat pancreas, were located predominantly in a perivascular area, and had lipid droplets with a fluorescence characteristic of vitamin A, Pancreatic vitamin A-storing cells had more numerous jipid droplets and more distinct fluorescence of vitamin A in vitamin A-loaded rats than in normal rats. In the rat, hepatic vitamin A-storing cells contained significantly more lipid droplets and had more distinct vitamin A fluorescence than pancreatic vitamin A-storing cells. Pancreatic sections from human subjects with chronic alcoholic pancreatitis revealed abundant vitamin A-storing cells surrounded by collagen fibers in an area of fibrosis. These results indicate that vitamin A-storing cells are widely distributed in the normal human and rat pancreas, although pancreatic vitamin A-storing cells have less storage capacity for vitamin A than do hepatic cells. Vitamin A-storing cells, as well as fibroblasts, may participate in the development of pancreatic fibrosis in chronic alcoholic pancreatitis, similar to the way hepatic vitamin A-storing cells participate in hepatic fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Liver / cytology
  • Male
  • Pancreas / chemistry
  • Pancreas / ultrastructure*
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Vitamin A / analysis*


  • Vitamin A