We assessed the potential role of all-trans-retinoic acid on the developing chick pancreas, specifically with regard to the proportions of insulin cells. The endodermal component of the dorsal pancreatic bud of 5-d-old chick embryos was cultured on Matrigel. Retinoic acid (10−6 or 10−5 M) was added to a standard serum-free medium, Ham's F12 containing insulin, transferrin and selenium (F12.ITS). Control grafts were cultured in F12.ITS alone or in F12.ITS with DMSO (the diluent for retinoic acid). After 7 d the explants were retrieved, freeze-dried, vapor-fixed, and embedded in resin. Endocrine cell types were identified by immunocytochemistry. The numbers of insulin cells were expressed as a proportion of the sum of insulin plus glucagon cells. Retinoic acid had a dose-related effect; the proportion of insulin cells in explants treated with the lower dose of retinoic acid (10−6 M) was more than twice the proportion of insulin cells in explants treated with the higher dose (10−5 M) of retinoic acid and more than three times that of the control grafts.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1