In this study we examined the expression of nestin in islets, the exocrine part, and the big ducts of the adult human pancreas by immunofluorescent double staining. Two different anti-nestin antisera in combination with various pancreatic and endothelial markers were employed. Nestin-immunoreactive cells were found in islets and in the exocrine portion. All nestin-positive cells co-expressed the vascular endothelial markers PECAM-1 (CD31), endoglin (CD105), and CD34 as well as vimentin. Endocrine, acinar, and duct cells did not stain for nestin. We also demonstrated that in the area of big pancreatic ducts, nestin-positive cells represent small capillaries scattered in the connective tissue surrounding the duct epithelium and do not reside between the duct cells. We detected nestin-expressing endothelial cells located adjacent to the duct epithelium where endocrine differentiation occurs. We have shown that nestin is expressed by vascular endothelial cells in human pancreas, and therefore it is unlikely that nestin specifically marks a subpopulation of cells representing endocrine progenitors in the adult pancreas.
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