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

Expression of non-classical islet hormone-like peptides during the embryonic development of the pancreas.

Understanding of islet embryogenesis may prove to be key in the design of future therapies for diabetes directed at re-initiating islet growth, with the goal to replace and/or replenish the impaired beta-cell mass in the disease. In this context, studies of islet neurohormonal peptides, known to play a role in the local regulation of islet function, and their expression during islet embryogenesis are important. Here we review our studies on the embryonic islet expression of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) and the PP-fold peptides pancreatic polypeptide ( PP), peptide YY (PYY) and neuropeptide Y (NPY). IAPP, which is constitutively expressed in beta- and delta-cells in the adult rat, was found to occur in the assumed pluripotent islet progenitor cell, together with PYY, glucagon, and to a lesser extent with insulin. As development proceeds, the insulin/IAPP phenotype is segregated from that of PYY/glucagon; with the formation of islet-like structures, insulin/IAPP-expressing cells primarily occupy their central portions, while PYY/glucagon-expressing cells are found in their periphery. At the time of formation of islet-like structures, expression of NPY is induced in the insulin/IAPP-containing cells. Whereas NPY-expression ceases at birth, PYY is constitutively expressed in non-beta-cells in the mature rat. Expression of PP is induced just prior to birth in a separate population of islet cells, occasionally co-expressed with PYY. Although a clear role for these peptides during embryogenesis has not been identified, they conceivably could play a role in the control of insulin secretion, islet growth and islet blood flow.[1]


  1. Expression of non-classical islet hormone-like peptides during the embryonic development of the pancreas. Mulder, H., Myrsén-Axcrona, U., Gebre-Medhin, S., Ekblad, E., Sundler, F. Microsc. Res. Tech. (1998) [Pubmed]
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