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BACKGROUND & AIMS - The ARID1A gene encodes a protein that is part of the large adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent chromatin remodeling complex SWI/SNF and is frequently mutated in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). We investigated the functions of ARID1A during formation of PDACs in mice.
METHODS - We performed studies with Ptf1a-Cre;Kras mice, which express activated Kras in the pancreas and develop pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs), as well as those with disruption of Aird1a (Ptf1a-Cre;Kras;Arid1a mice) or disruption of Brg1 (encodes a catalytic ATPase of the SWI/SNF complex) (Ptf1a-Cre;Kras; Brg1mice). Pancreatic ductal cells (PDCs) were isolated from Arid1a mice and from Arid1a;SOX9OE mice, which overexpress human SOX9 upon infection with an adenovirus-expressing Cre recombinase. Pancreatic tissues were collected from all mice and analyzed by histology and immunohistochemistry; cells were isolated and grown in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cultures. We performed microarray analyses to compare gene expression patterns in intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) from the different strains of mice. We obtained 58 samples of IPMNs and 44 samples of PDACs from patients who underwent pancreatectomy in Japan and analyzed them by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - Ptf1a-Cre;Kras mice developed PanINs, whereas Ptf1a-Cre;Kras;Arid1a mice developed IPMNs and PDACs; IPMNs originated from PDCs. ARID1A-deficient IPMNs did not express SOX9. ARID1A-deficient PDCs had reduced expression of SOX9 and dedifferentiated in culture. Overexpression of SOX9 in these cells allowed them to differentiate and prevented dilation of ducts. Among mice with pancreatic expression of activated Kras, those with disruption of Arid1a developed fewer PDACs from IPMNs than mice with disruption of Brg1. ARID1A-deficient IPMNs had reduced activity of the mTOR pathway. Human IPMN and PDAC specimens had reduced levels of ARID1A, SOX9, and phosphorylated S6 (a marker of mTOR pathway activation). Levels of ARID1A correlated with levels of SOX9 and phosphorylated S6.
CONCLUSIONS - ARID1A regulates expression of SOX9, activation of the mTOR pathway, and differentiation of PDCs. ARID1A inhibits formation of PDACs from IPMNs in mice with pancreatic expression of activated KRAS and is down-regulated in IPMN and PDAC tissues from patients.
Copyright © 2018 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Beta cell replacement strategies hold promise for permanently treating type 1 diabetes. In Cell Stem Cell, Xiao et al. (2018) restore pancreatic beta cell mass and normalize blood glucose in diabetic mice by reprogramming pancreatic alpha to beta cells using Pdx1- and Mafa-expressing adeno-associated virus infused into the pancreatic duct.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Using a transgenic mouse model to express MafA, Pdx1, and Neurog3 (3TF) in a pancreatic acinar cell- and doxycycline-dependent manner, we discovered that the outcome of transcription factor-mediated acinar to β-like cellular reprogramming is dependent on both the magnitude of 3TF expression and on reprogramming-induced inflammation. Overly robust 3TF expression causes acinar cell necrosis, resulting in marked inflammation and acinar-to-ductal metaplasia. Generation of new β-like cells requires limiting reprogramming-induced inflammation, either by reducing 3TF expression or by eliminating macrophages. The new β-like cells were able to reverse streptozotocin-induced diabetes 6 days after inducing 3TF expression but failed to sustain their function after removal of the reprogramming factors.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The adult pancreas is capable of limited regeneration after injury but has no defined stem cell population. The cell types and molecular signals that govern the production of new pancreatic tissue are not well understood. Here, we show that inactivation of the SCF-type E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate recognition component Fbw7 induces pancreatic ductal cells to reprogram into α, δ, and β cells. Loss of Fbw7 stabilized the transcription factor Ngn3, a key regulator of endocrine cell differentiation. The induced β cells resemble islet β cells in morphology and histology, express genes essential for β cell function, and release insulin after glucose challenge. Thus, loss of Fbw7 appears to reawaken an endocrine developmental differentiation program in adult pancreatic ductal cells. Our study highlights the plasticity of seemingly differentiated adult cells, identifies Fbw7 as a master regulator of cell fate decisions in the pancreas, and reveals adult pancreatic duct cells as a latent multipotent cell type.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CONTEXT - PAM4 is a monoclonal antibody that shows high specificity for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and its neoplastic precursor lesions. A PAM4-based serum immunoassay is able to detect 71% of early-stage patients and 91% with advanced disease. However, approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (CP) are also positive for circulating PAM4 antigen. The specificity of the PAM4 antibody is critical to the interpretation of the serum-based and immunohistochemical assays for detection of PDAC.
OBJECTIVE - To determine whether PAM4 can differentiate PDAC from nonneoplastic lesions of the pancreas.
DESIGN - Tissue microarrays of PDAC (N = 43) and surgical specimens from CP (N = 32) and benign cystic lesions (N = 19) were evaluated for expression of the PAM4 biomarker, MUC1, MUC4, CEACAM5/6, and CA19-9.
RESULTS - PAM4 and monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to MUC1, MUC4, CEACAM5/6, and CA19-9 were each reactive with the majority of PDAC cases; however, PAM4 was the only monoclonal antibody not to react with adjacent, nonneoplastic parenchyma. Although PAM4 labeled 19% (6 of 32) of CP specimens, reactivity was restricted to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia associated with CP; inflamed tissues were negative in all cases. In contrast, MUC1, MUC4, CEACAM5/6, and CA19-9 were detected in 90%, 78%, 97%, and 100% of CP, respectively, with reactivity also present in nonneoplastic inflamed tissue.
CONCLUSIONS - PAM4 was the only monoclonal antibody able to differentiate PDAC (and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia precursor lesions) from benign, nonneoplastic tissues of the pancreas. These results suggest the use of PAM4 for evaluation of tissue specimens, and support its role as an immunoassay for detection of PDAC.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Metaplasias often have characteristics of developmentally related tissues. Pancreatic metaplastic ducts are usually associated with pancreatitis and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The tuft cell is a chemosensory cell that responds to signals in the extracellular environment via effector molecules. Commonly found in the biliary tract, tuft cells are absent from normal murine pancreas. Using the aberrant appearance of tuft cells as an indicator, we tested if pancreatic metaplasia represents transdifferentiation to a biliary phenotype and what effect this has on pancreatic tumorigenesis.
METHODS - We analyzed pancreatic tissue and tumors that developed in mice that express an activated form of Kras (Kras(LSL-G12D/+);Ptf1a(Cre/+) mice). Normal bile duct, pancreatic duct, and tumor-associated metaplasias from the mice were analyzed for tuft cell and biliary progenitor markers, including SOX17, a transcription factor that regulates biliary development. We also analyzed pancreatic tissues from mice expressing transgenic SOX17 alone (ROSA(tTa/+);Ptf1(CreERTM/+);tetO-SOX17) or along with activated Kras (ROSAtT(a/+);Ptf1a(CreERTM/+);tetO-SOX17;Kras(LSL-G12D;+)).
RESULTS - Tuft cells were frequently found in areas of pancreatic metaplasia, decreased throughout tumor progression, and absent from invasive tumors. Analysis of the pancreatobiliary ductal systems of mice revealed tuft cells in the biliary tract but not the normal pancreatic duct. Analysis for biliary markers revealed expression of SOX17 in pancreatic metaplasia and tumors. Pancreas-specific overexpression of SOX17 led to ductal metaplasia along with inflammation and collagen deposition. Mice that overexpressed SOX17 along with Kras(G12D) had a greater degree of transformed tissue compared with mice expressing only Kras(G12D). Immunofluorescence analysis of human pancreatic tissue arrays revealed the presence of tuft cells in metaplasia and early-stage tumors, along with SOX17 expression, consistent with a biliary phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS - Expression of Kras(G12D) and SOX17 in mice induces development of metaplasias with a biliary phenotype containing tuft cells. Tuft cells express a number of tumorigenic factors that can alter the microenvironment. Expression of SOX17 induces pancreatitis and promotes Kras(G12D)-induced tumorigenesis in mice.
Copyright © 2014 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It was recently demonstrated that embryonic glucagon-producing cells in the pancreas can regenerate and convert into insulin-producing β-like cells through the constitutive/ectopic expression of the Pax4 gene. However, whether α cells in adult mice display the same plasticity is unknown. Similarly, the mechanisms underlying such reprogramming remain unclear. We now demonstrate that the misexpression of Pax4 in glucagon(+) cells age-independently induces their conversion into β-like cells and their glucagon shortage-mediated replacement, resulting in islet hypertrophy and in an unexpected islet neogenesis. Combining several lineage-tracing approaches, we show that, upon Pax4-mediated α-to-β-like cell conversion, pancreatic duct-lining precursor cells are continuously mobilized, re-express the developmental gene Ngn3, and successively adopt a glucagon(+) and a β-like cell identity through a mechanism involving the reawakening of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Importantly, these processes can repeatedly regenerate the whole β cell mass and thereby reverse several rounds of toxin-induced diabetes, providing perspectives to design therapeutic regenerative strategies.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The assembly of distinct proteins into tight junctions results in the formation of a continuous barrier that regulates the paracellular flux of water, ions, and small molecules across epithelia. The claudin protein family encompasses numerous major structural components of tight junctions. These proteins specify the permeability characteristics of tight junctions and consequently, some of the physiological properties of epithelia. Furthermore, defective claudin expression has been found to correlate with some diseases, tumor progression, and defective morphogenesis. Investigating the pattern of claudin expression during embryogenesis or in certain pathological conditions is necessary to begin disclosing the role of these proteins in health and disease.
RESULTS - This study analyzed the expression of several claudins during mouse pancreas organogenesis and in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias of mouse and human origin.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results underscored a distinctive, dynamic distribution of certain claudins in both the developing pancreas and the pancreatic epithelium undergoing neoplastic transformation.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
During pancreas development, endocrine and exocrine cells arise from a common multipotent progenitor pool. How these cell fate decisions are coordinated with tissue morphogenesis is poorly understood. Here we have examined ductal morphology, endocrine progenitor cell fate and Notch signaling in Ngn3(-/-) mice, which do not produce islet cells. Ngn3 deficiency results in reduced branching and enlarged pancreatic duct-like structures, concomitant with Ngn3 promoter activation throughout the ductal epithelium and reduced Notch signaling. Conversely, forced generation of surplus endocrine progenitor cells causes reduced duct caliber and an excessive number of tip cells. Thus, endocrine progenitor cells normally provide a feedback signal to adjacent multipotent ductal progenitor cells that activates Notch signaling, inhibits further endocrine differentiation and promotes proper morphogenesis. These results uncover a novel layer of regulation coordinating pancreas morphogenesis and endocrine/exocrine differentiation, and suggest ways to enhance the yield of beta cells from stem cells.
2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.