Changes in the mouse exocrine pancreas after pancreatic duct ligation: a qualitative and quantitative histological study

Arch Histol Cytol. 1995 Aug;58(3):365-74. doi: 10.1679/aohc.58.365.


The pancreatic duct from the splenic lobe, the largest lobe of the pancreas in the mouse, was ligated at 6 weeks of age, with histological and cytological changes in the organ examined 1 day to 16 weeks after the ligation. Changes in the volumes of the pancreatic lobe, exocrine tissue, and interstitial tissue as well as relative total numbers of each cellular element in the organ after duct ligation were stereologically obtained using serial sections of the whole pancreas. Cell sizes, degenerated cell and mitotic cell indices, and nuclear densities of the acinar and ductal cells were also obtained. After duct ligation, the volume of the pancreas increased by interstitial edema in the first 2 days but rapidly decreased thereafter due to atrophy of the exocrine tissue, amounting to 10% or less of normal volume by 7 days. The acinar cells showed an accumulation of the zymogen granules, cytoplasmic condensation and a pyknotic figure of the nucleus; they then were thoroughly deleted with appearance of numerous macrophages. This cell death was suggested to be due to apoptosis. On the other hand, the ductal cells remained in the atrophic pancreas and proliferated with mitotic figures to two times the normal frequency at 3 days, and then formed duct-like structures lacking in the acinar cells. After 2 week, the ductal cells slowly decreased in number also due to cell death, but the pancreas became gradually enlarged by intralobular fatty replacement, to reach a volume approximating that of normal 8 weeks after duct ligation. The stereological method serves for the correct evaluation of cell dynamics including the deletion and proliferation of the cells in the whole organ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Size
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mitotic Index
  • Pancreas / anatomy & histology*
  • Pancreas / physiology
  • Pancreas / ultrastructure
  • Pancreatic Ducts / physiology*
  • Time Factors