Reconstructing human pancreatic differentiation by mapping specific cell populations during development

Elife. 2017 Jul 21;6:e27564. doi: 10.7554/eLife.27564.


Information remains scarce on human development compared to animal models. Here, we reconstructed human fetal pancreatic differentiation using cell surface markers. We demonstrate that at 7weeks of development, the glycoprotein 2 (GP2) marks a multipotent cell population that will differentiate into the acinar, ductal or endocrine lineages. Development towards the acinar lineage is paralleled by an increase in GP2 expression. Conversely, a subset of the GP2+ population undergoes endocrine differentiation by down-regulating GP2 and CD142 and turning on NEUROG3, a marker of endocrine differentiation. Endocrine maturation progresses by up-regulating SUSD2 and lowering ECAD levels. Finally, in vitro differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells mimics key in vivo events. Our work paves the way to extend our understanding of the origin of mature human pancreatic cell types and how such lineage decisions are regulated.

Keywords: development; developmental biology; human; pancreas; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acinar Cells / cytology
  • Acinar Cells / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endocrine Cells / cytology
  • Endocrine Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetus / cytology*
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Pancreas / cytology*
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Ducts / cytology
  • Pancreatic Ducts / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Transcriptome


  • Biomarkers

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.