The Development of Insulin Secretion in Man

  • R. D. G. Milner
Part of the Nutricia Symposium book series (NUSY, volume 3)


The function of the ß cell of the islets of angerhans in the human foetus and newborn has, for obvious reasons, been more difficult to study than the morphology of endocrine pancreatic development. In many mammalian species islets develop in two ‘generations’ (I): a primary generation that grows out from the solid cords of cells which will form the primitive pancreatic tubules and a second generation that appears after the acini have formed and arises either from the acinar cells (2) or, in common with acinar cells, from the cells of the pancreatic ductules (3). Only Liu and Potter (4) have described two definite generations of islets in human tissue, the first beginning at the eighth week of gestation from the primitive ducts and the second, during the third month of intra-uterine life, from the terminal ducts. The histological and histochemical development of the interacinar or secondary islets has been described in detail (5, 6, 7, 4, 8, 9, 10). Granulated ß cells are first seen at nine weeks (7). Electron microscopy at this stage of development has shown the islets to contain ß cells and two kinds of α cells, α 1 cells containing faint globular granules of unknown function and α 2 cells with electron dense granules containing glucagon (11, 12). The spatial and numerical relationship of ß and α cells changes through the second and third trimesters.


Insulin Secretion Beta Cell Insulin Release Plasma Insulin Level Diabetic Mother 
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Copyright information

© H. E. Stenfert Kroese N.V. Leiden Holland 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. G. Milner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child HealthUniversity of ManchesterManchester 13England
  2. 2.St. Mary’s HospitalManchester 13England

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