Pancreas development is a complex and dynamic process orchestrated by cellular and molecular events, including morphogenesis and cell differentiation. As a result of recent explorations into possible cell-therapy-based treatments for diabetes, researchers have made significant progress in deciphering the developmental program of pancreas formation. In vitro pancreas organ culture systems provide a valuable tool for exploring the mechanisms of gene regulation, cellular behaviors, and cell differentiation. In this chapter, we review three common techniques for culturing embryonic pancreas explants. Each technique is suitable for different applications. Specifically, culturing embryonic pancreas on culture inserts provides an excellent platform to test the effects of chemical compounds. Conversely, when the embryonic pancreas is cultured in fibronectin-coated glass microwells, the system provides unique culture conditions to monitor organ growth and cellular dynamic events. Lastly, when the embryonic pancreas is embedded in Matrigel, organogenesis can be studied in a three-dimensional environment instead of limiting the analysis to one plane.
Pancreas Development Explants Differentiation Morphogenesis
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Springer Nature is developing a new tool to find and evaluate Protocols. Learn more
This work was supported by the NIH/NIDDK awards to M.S. (R01-DK078803 and R01-DK68471), and JDRF postdoctoral fellowships H.P.S. (3-2009-161).
Esni F, Miyamoto Y, Leach SD, Ghosh B (2005) Primary explant cultures of adult and embryonic pancreas. Methods Mol Med 103:259–271PubMedGoogle Scholar
Petzold KM, Spagnoli FM (2012) A system for ex vivo culturing of embryonic pancreas. J Vis Exp 66:e3979PubMedGoogle Scholar
Burke ZD, Li WC, Slack JM, Tosh D (2010) Isolation and culture of embryonic pancreas and liver. Methods Mol Biol 633:91–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Packard A, Georgas K, Michos O, Riccio P, Cebrian C et al (2013) Luminal mitosis drives epithelial cell dispersal within the branching ureteric bud. Dev Cell 27:319–330PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greggio C, De Franceschi F, Figueiredo-Larsen M, Gobaa S, Ranga A et al (2013) Artificial three-dimensional niches deconstruct pancreas development in vitro. Development 140:4452–4462PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jin L, Feng T, Shih HP, Zerda R, Luo A et al (2013) Colony-forming cells in the adult mouse pancreas are expandable in Matrigel and form endocrine/acinar colonies in laminin hydrogel. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110: 3907–3912PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar