chapter  4
16 Pages

Fetal and Neonatal Development of the Exocrine Pancreas

ByEmanuel Lebenthal, Ying-kit Leung

The exocrine pancreas undergoes characteristic developmental changes at the tissue, cellular, and subcellular levels during the perinatal period. Numerous ontogenic studies have been carried out, and animal models, particularly rats, have been used predominantly. However, human data are scanty and extrapolation of animal data to humans has to be done with care and reservation. Our rudimentary understanding of the underlying mechanisms derived from animal models is often confounded owing to interspecies differences in gestational periods, qualities of milk and weaning diet, regulatory mechanisms such as hormonal regulation and preprogrammed, genetically determined species-specific developmental patterns.