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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 2142646, 12 pages
Research Article

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Human Exocrine Pancreas Spontaneously Express Pancreas Progenitor-Cell Markers in a Cell-Passage-Dependent Manner

1Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Cell Therapy, Asan Institute for Life Science, Asan Medical Center, Seoul 05505, Republic of Korea
2Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul 05505, Republic of Korea

Received 4 March 2016; Accepted 21 July 2016

Academic Editor: Eva Mezey

Copyright © 2016 Song Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and most connective tissues have been recognized as promising sources for cell-based therapies. MSCs have also been detected in human pancreatic tissue, including endocrine and exocrine cells. These adult human pancreas-derived MSCs have generated a great deal of interest owing to their potential use in the differentiation of insulin-producing cells for diabetes treatment. In the present study, we isolated MSCs from the adult human exocrine pancreas to determine whether isolated MSCs have the potential to differentiate into pancreatic endocrine cells and, therefore, whether they can be used in stem cell-based therapies. Pancreatic tissue was digested by collagenase and an enriched exocrine-cell fraction was obtained by density-gradient separation. Crude exocrine cells were methodically cultured in suspension and then in adherent culture. We expanded the human pancreatic exocrine-derived MSCs (hpMSCs) by cell passaging in culture and confirmed by flow cytometry that >90% expressed human classic surface markers of MSCs. Interestingly, these cells expressed pancreatic transcription factors, such as Pdx1, Ngn3, and MafA, similar to pancreatic progenitor cells. These results indicated that hpMSCs can be used for the differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cells and may be used in type 1 diabetes treatment.