PNA lectin for purifying mouse acinar cells from the inflamed pancreas

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 17;6:21127. doi: 10.1038/srep21127.


Better methods for purifying human or mouse acinar cells without the need for genetic modification are needed. Such techniques would be advantageous for the specific study of certain mechanisms, such as acinar-to-beta-cell reprogramming and pancreatitis. Ulex Europaeus Agglutinin I (UEA-I) lectin has been used to label and isolate acinar cells from the pancreas. However, the purity of the UEA-I-positive cell fraction has not been fully evaluated. Here, we screened 20 widely used lectins for their binding specificity for major pancreatic cell types, and found that UEA-I and Peanut agglutinin (PNA) have a specific affinity for acinar cells in the mouse pancreas, with minimal affinity for other major pancreatic cell types including endocrine cells, duct cells and endothelial cells. Moreover, PNA-purified acinar cells were less contaminated with mesenchymal and inflammatory cells, compared to UEA-I purified acinar cells. Thus, UEA-I and PNA appear to be excellent lectins for pancreatic acinar cell purification. PNA may be a better choice in situations where mesenchymal cells or inflammatory cells are significantly increased in the pancreas, such as type 1 diabetes, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acinar Cells / cytology*
  • Acinar Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Mice
  • Pancreas / cytology*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / pathology*
  • Peanut Agglutinin* / metabolism


  • Peanut Agglutinin