Spontaneous induction of murine pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mPanIN) by acinar cell targeting of oncogenic Kras in adult mice

Nils Habbe, Guanglu Shi, Robert A. Meguid, Volker Fendrich, Farzad Esni, Huiping Chen, Georg Feldmann, Doris A. Stoffers, Stephen F. Konieczny, Steven D. Leach, Anirban Maitra

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263 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is believed to arise through a multistep model comprised of putative precursor lesions known as pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN). Recent genetically engineered mouse models of PDAC demonstrate a comparable morphologic spectrum of murine PanIN (mPanIN) lesions. The histogenesis of PanIN and PDAC in both mice and men remains controversial. The most faithful genetic models activate an oncogenic Kras G12D knockin allele within the pdx1- or ptf1a/p48-expression domain of the entire pancreatic anlage during development, thus obscuring the putative cell(s)-of-origin from which subsequent mPanIN lesions arise. In our study, activation of this knockin KrasG12D allele in the Elastase- and Mist1-expressing mature acinar compartment of adult mice resulted in the spontaneous induction of mPanIN lesions of all histological grades, although invasive carcinomas per se were not seen. We observed no requirement for concomitant chronic exocrine injury in the induction of mPanIN lesions from the mature acinar cell compartment. The acinar cell derivation of the mPanINs was established through lineage tracing in reporter mice, and by microdissection of lesional tissue demonstrating Cre-mediated recombination events. In contrast to the uniformly penetrant mPanIN phenotype observed following developmental activation of KrasG12D in the Pdx1-expressing progenitor cells, the Pdx1-expressing population in the mature pancreas (predominantly islet β cells) appears to be relatively resistant to the effects of oncogenic Kras. We conclude that in the appropriate genetic context, the differentiated acinar cell compartment in adult mice retains its susceptibility for spontaneous transformation into mPanIN lesions, a finding with potential relevance vis-à-vis the origins of PDAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18913-18918
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 2 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Lineage tracing
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Precursor lesions
  • Transdifferentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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