The mammalian pancreas is thought to develop through a complex interaction between the budding epithelium and the surrounding mesenchyme. The exact nature of this interaction is unclear. Most of what is known to date of these interactions comes from a series of organ culture experiments done in the late 1960s. Nevertheless, these important experiments may have been confounded by less-defined culture media and organ dissection techniques, because the results are not reproducible in our hands. The authors undertook a study to reexplore these basic epithelio-mesenchymal interactions.Using previously described organ dissection and culture techniques the authors examined the basic interactions between the embryonic pancreatic epithelium and its mesenchyme with histological and immunohistological techniques.The authors found that, contrary to previous reports, the earliest pancreatic anlage did not possess the intrinsic signaling necessary to support normal growth and differentiation in vitro. Intimate contact between the epithelium and the mesenchyme may be necessary until E11.5 for normal growth and differentiation. The age of the mesenchyme seemed to correlate with the degree of acinar differentiation, and proximity of mesenchyme was important for acinar differentiation.Previous investigations into the basic epithelio-mesenchymal interactions in the developing mammalian pancreas may have had confounding factors. Extrinsic signals seem necessary for complete pancreatic differentiation, and mesenchymal factors appear important for acinar differentiation.
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View details for PubMedID 10359180