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Decreased pancreatic acinar cell number in type 1 diabetes – published online 09/05/2020

Fig from Wright paper

Jordan J. Wright, Diane C. Saunders, Chunhua Dai, Greg Poffenberger, Brynn Cairns, David V. Serreze, David M. Harlan, Rita Bottino, Marcela Brissova, Alvin C. Powers

Individuals with type 1 diabetes have a reduced total pancreas size; however, the cellular and tissue changes responsible for this size reduction are not well characterised. In this issue, Wright et al (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05155-y) report that  pancreases from donors with type 1 diabetes were approximately 45% smaller than those from non-diabetic donors. They also had fewer total acinar cells and, as expected, a lower beta cell mass. Acinar cell size was similar between pancreases from diabetic and non-diabetic donors, regardless of location within pancreatic lobes or proximity to islets. Compared with non-diabetic donors, pancreases from donors with type 1 diabetes also had increased fibrosis. Based on the analysis of size and cell composition of pancreases from donors with a wide range of type 1 diabetes duration, the authors speculate that the decline in acinar cell number begins very early in disease progression and that type 1 diabetes pathogenesis involves both the exocrine and endocrine compartments of the pancreas.

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