Expression and function of leukaemia inhibitory factor and its receptor in normal and regenerating rat pancreas

S De Breuck, L Baeyens, L Bouwens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: It was recently reported that culturing adult exocrine cells in the presence of epidermal growth factor and leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) resulted in their transdifferentiation into endocrine beta cells. The aim of this study was to examine the expression and function of LIF in the pancreas.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We studied the expression of LIF and its receptor components, LIF-receptor-beta and gp130, by immunohistochemistry, western blotting and RT-PCR in normal rat pancreas, pancreas with duct ligation-induced islet neogenesis, and in pancreatic cell cultures. Isolated duct fragments were cultured in the presence of LIF and a janus kinase 2 (JAK2) inhibitor.

RESULTS: LIF was detected by immunohistochemistry, western blot and RT-PCR in the ducts of the normal pancreas. Both LIF-receptor-beta and gp130 were detected by RT-PCR in the pancreas. Immunostaining revealed gp130 exclusively in the ducts and centro-acinar cells. After duct ligation-induced tissue injury, upregulation of LIF and its receptor occurred in rat pancreas. Metaplastic exocrine cells also started to express LIF and this was increased after alloxan treatment. Signalling via LIF-receptor-beta/gp130 involves the JAK/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway. LIF induced increased activation of STAT3 in pancreatic cells. In isolated duct fragments, addition of LIF resulted in a significant increase in duct cell proliferation, while a specific inhibitor of the JAK/STAT signalling pathway inhibited proliferation.

CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION: Our observations show that LIF and its receptor are expressed in cells from pancreatic ducts. The cytokine plays a role in pancreatic physiology, controls duct cell proliferation and is involved in repair processes following pancreatic injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Animals
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Male
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatic Ducts
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Cytokine
  • Receptors, OSM-LIF
  • Reference Values
  • Regeneration
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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