Many efforts are spent in identifying stem cells in adult pancreas because these could provide a source of β cells for cell-based therapy of type 1 diabetes. Prominin-1, particularly its specific glycosylation-dependent AC133 epitope, is expressed on stem/progenitor cells of various human tissues and can be used to isolate them. We, therefore, examined its expression in adult human pancreas.
To detect prominin-1 protein, monoclonal antibody CD133/1 (AC133 clone), which recognizes the AC133 epitope, and the αhE2 antiserum, which is directed against the human prominin-1 polypeptide, were used. Prominin-1 RNA expression was analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
We report that all duct-lining cells of the pancreas express prominin-1. Most notably, the cells that react with the αhE2 antiserum also react with the AC133 antibody. After isolation and culture of human exocrine cells, we found a relative increase in prominin-1 expression both at protein and RNA expression level, which can be explained by an enrichment of cells with ductal phenotype in these cultures.
Our data show that pancreatic duct cells express prominin-1 and surprisingly reveal that its particular AC133 epitope is not an exclusive stem and progenitor cell marker.