An experimental investigation into the possible neural crest origin of pancreatic APUD (islet) cells

J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1976 Jun;35(3):577-93.


It has recently been contended that pancreatic APUD cells are neural crest derivatives. In an experimental investigation, isotopic grafts of neural tube containing neural crest cells were transplanted from chick and quail embryos labelled with tritiated thymidine, and from unlabelled quail embryos, to host chick embryos at the same stage of development. Transplantations were performed at various levels between somites 5 and 24 in embryos at 6- to 24-somite stages. In operated embryos at 3 3/4 days of incubation, the pancreatic APUD cells were not labelled; nor did their nuclei show quail features. Migration of cells from the graft was evidenced by the presence of quail nuclei and/or radioactive label in autoradiographs, in spinal and sympathetic ganglia in the operated region. It is concluded that the pancreatic APUD cells of the 3 3/4-day-old chick embryo are not derived from the trunk neural crest up the level of somite 24. It is unlikely that more caudal levels contribute, because APUD cells are already concentrated in the dorsal pancreatic bud region at the 24-somite stage, by which time no migration of crest cells has occurred caudal to somite 24. This conclusion probably concerns A, B and D pancreatic endocrine cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Chick Embryo
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Ganglia / cytology
  • Ganglia, Autonomic
  • Ganglia, Spinal
  • Islets of Langerhans / embryology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Quail
  • Rotation


  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine