Background and Aims: Pancreatic thread proteins (PTPs) are acinar cell products and members of the regenerating gene (reg) family. reg expression increases during islet regeneration, is depressed during aging-related islet dysfunction, and may be important in β-cell growth and maintenance. The aim of this study was to examine the genetic expression of reg in pancreatic- derived cells in vitro and the mitogenic effect of PTP/reg protein on these cells. Methods: reg gene expression was measured by Northern analysis in three rat pancreatic cell lines: ARIP (ductal), AR42J (acinar), and RIN (β- cell). PTP/reg protein was isolated from bovine and human pancreas. Cells were cultured with PTP/reg for 72 hours, and thymidine incorporation was measured. Results: reg messenger RNA was detected in AR42J but not in ARIP or RIN. PTP/reg protein was mitogenic to RIN and ARIP in a dose-related fashion but not to AR42J. It was not mitogenic to cultured mature rat islets. Conclusions: reg messenger RNA is expressed in acinar but not in β-cell or ductal pancreatic cell lines. PTP/reg protein was mitogenic to both β-cell and ductal cell lines but not to mature, nondividing islets. This supports the hypothesis that PTP/reg protein is an acinar cell-derived mediator of β- cell growth and may be involved in modulating the duct-to-islet axis.
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