Though embryonic pancreas progenitors are well characterised, the existence of stem/progenitor cells in the postnatal mammalian pancreas has been long debated, mainly due to contradicting results on regeneration after injury or disease in mice. Despite these controversies, sequencing advancements combined with lineage tracing and organoid technologies indicate that homeostatic and trigger-induced regenerative responses in mice could occur. The presence of putative progenitor cells in the adult pancreas has been proposed during homeostasis and upon different stress challenges such as inflammation, tissue damage and oncogenic stress. More recently, single cell transcriptomics has revealed a remarkable heterogeneity in all pancreas cell types, with some cells showing the signature of potential progenitors. In this review we provide an overview on embryonic and putative adult pancreas progenitors in homeostasis and disease, with special emphasis on in vitro culture systems and scRNA-seq technology as tools to address the progenitor nature of different pancreatic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111459
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Cell fate decisions
  • Pancreas progenitors
  • scRNA-seq
  • Stem cells


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