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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Stage-specific expression of cancer-associated type 1 and type 2 chain polylactosamine antigens in the developing pancreas of human embryos.

Expression of type 1 and type 2 chain carbohydrate antigens during the course of morphogenesis of human embryonic pancreas was investigated using specific monoclonal antibodies and compared with the carbohydrate antigen profiles of human pancreatic cancers. The type 2 chain antigens, such as stage-specific embryonic antigen 1 (Le(x)) and I-antigens, appeared much earlier than the type 1 chain antigens; the epithelial cells of primitive foregut were Le(x)+I-antigen- in the embryos at Carnegie stages 16-23, while the pancreatic primordial cells, which had differentiated from the Le(x)+ gut epithelial cells, were Le(x)-I-antigen+ at Carnegie stages 22-23. The type 1 chain antigens, such as Le(a), Le(b), Le(c), and their sialylated derivatives, were not expressed in any cells at these stages and appeared much later in the pancreas of the 10-12-week embryos, when the primitive pancreatic ductal cells in the primordia exhibited an extensive budding of the daughter cells. At this stage, Le(a) appeared and was expressed strongly in the epithelial cells of primitive pancreatic ducts as well as in the daughter cells that were destined to differentiate into future centroacinar cells; Le(b) was localized in the daughter cells which were to become future acinar cells; and Le(c) was specifically expressed in the daughter cells which were to form future Langerhans islets. With regard to the sialylated derivatives of Le(a), expression of the 2-3 sialyl Le(a) antigen was limited to the epithelial cells of the primitive pancreatic ducts, while the 2-6 sialyl Le(a) antigen was strongly expressed in the future centroacinar cells, which had differentiated from the corresponding daughter cells. Among these antigens, the Le(a) and 2-3 sialyl Le(a) antigens showed the highest incidence in human pancreatic cancer tissues. These results indicate that the expression of these carbohydrate antigens in embryonic pancreas is differentiation dependent and cell lineage specific and that most human pancreatic cancer cells mimic the carbohydrate antigen profile of the epithelial cells of the primitive pancreatic ducts in human embryos.[1]


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