The potential for regeneration of pancreatic tissue in the adult human has generally been regarded as minimal. However, in chronic pancreatitis, isolated lobuli are frequently seen in fibrosis. These isolated lobuli have nodular architecture and bear resemblance to regenerative nodules of the cirrhotic liver. In experimental animals, regeneration of the acinar cells has been shown in the literature since Fitzgerald et al., followed by other experimental studies for pancreas exocrine and/or endocrine cell regeneration. Recently, expression of growth factors in pancreatic regeneration as platelet-derived growth factor-A (PDGF-A) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was determined by immunohistochemical analysis, and a combination of epidermal growth factor and leukemia-inhibitor factor induces exocrine-endocrine transdifferentiation. Also, the morphological examinations of experimental animals clarified the potential endocrine and exocrine progenitors as tubular complex and acinoinsular and/or ductuloinsular transformation.

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The regenerative potential of the human pancreas tissue has been regarded as minimal. However, with regard to the pancreatic duct epithelium, proliferative changes, including regeneration, hyperplasia and metaplasia, are common pathological features. In the damaged human pancreas, such as in acute or chronic pancreatitis, isolated lobuli are frequently seen in fibrosis (figs. 1, 2). These isolated lobuli have a nodular architecture and show a resemblance to regenerative nodules of the cirrhotic liver. Though sequential examination of regenerative changes in the human pancreas is almost impossible, regeneration of acinar cells has been shown in experimental animals by Fitzgerald et al. [1]. These authors reported regeneration of acinar cells in the rat pancreas after administration of DL-ethionine. In this chapter, I would like to show my previous experiment on the characteristic histological patterns of regeneration in the chemically-injured animal pancreas [2, 3], and the comparison between the

Fig. 2. The mitotic figure was occasionally observed in such lobuli. HE.


DL-ethionine and followed (END) by normal diet

Normal diet (control)

Number of rats sacrificed per experimental period: I ( )

Fig. 3. Experimental design of pancreatic regeneration.

so-called cirrhotic human pancreas and the regenerative pancreas in experimental animals. Other experimental studies concerning pancreatic regeneration are also presented.

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