Growth Factor Independence-1 (Gfi1) Is Required for Pancreatic Acinar Unit Formation and Centroacinar Cell Differentiation

Xiaoling Qu, Pia Nyeng, Fan Xiao, Jorge Dorantes, Jan Jensen

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BACKGROUND & AIMS: The genetic specification of the compartmentalized pancreatic acinar/centroacinar unit is poorly understood. Growth factor independence-1 (Gfi1) is a zinc finger transcriptional repressor that regulates hematopoietic stem cell maintenance, pre-T-cell differentiation, formation of granulocytes, inner ear hair cells, and the development of secretory cell types in the intestine. As GFI1/Gfi1 is expressed in human and rodent pancreas, we characterized the potential function of Gfi1 in mouse pancreatic development. METHODS: Gfi1 knockout mice were analyzed at histological and molecular levels, including qRT-PCR, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. RESULTS: Loss of Gfi1 impacted formation and structure of the pancreatic acinar/centroacinar unit. Histologic and ultrastructural analysis of Gfi1-null pancreas revealed specific defects at the level of pancreatic acinar cells as well as the centroacinar cells (CACs) in Gfi1-/- mice when compared with wild-type littermates. Pancreatic endocrine differentiation, islet architecture, and function were unaffected. Organ domain patterning and the formation of ductal cells occurred normally during the murine secondary transition (E13.5-E14.5) in the Gfi1-/- pancreas. However, at later gestational time points (E18.5), expression of cellular markers for CACs was substantially reduced in Gfi1-/- mice, corroborated by electron microscopy imaging of the acinar/centroacinar unit. The reduction in CACs was correlated with an exocrine organ defect. Postnatally, Gfi1 deficiency resulted in severe pancreatic acinar dysplasia, including loss of granulation, autolytic vacuolation, and a proliferative and apoptotic response. CONCLUSIONS: Gfi1 plays an important role in regulating the development of pancreatic CACs and the function of pancreatic acinar cells.
TidsskriftCellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)233–247
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa

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