Chronic continuous exenatide infusion does not cause pancreatic inflammation and ductal hyperplasia in non-human primates

Teresa Vanessa Fiorentino, Michael Owston, Gregory Abrahamian, Stefano La Rosa, Alessandro Marando, Carla Perego, Eliana S. Di Cairano, Giovanna Finzi, Carlo Capella, Fausto Sessa, Francesca Casiraghi, Ana Paez, Ashwin Adivi, Alberto Davalli, Paolo Fiorina, Rodolfo Guardado Mendoza, Anthony G. Comuzzie, Mark Sharp, Ralph A. Defronzo, Glenn HalffEdward J. Dick, Franco Folli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of exenatide (EXE) treatment on exocrine pancreas of nonhuman primates. To this end, 52 baboons (Papio hamadryas) underwent partial pancreatectomy, followed by continuous infusion of EXE or saline (SAL) for 14 weeks. Histological analysis, immunohistochemistry, Computer Assisted Stereology Toolbox morphometry, and immunofluorescence staining were performed at baseline and after treatment. The EXE treatment did not induce pancreatitis, parenchymal or periductal inflammatory cell accumulation, ductal hyperplasia, or dysplastic lesions/pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia. At study end, Ki-67-positive (proliferating) acinar cell number did not change, compared with baseline, in either group. Ki-67-positive ductal cells increased after EXE treatment (P = 0.04). However, the change in Ki-67-positive ductal cell number did not differ significantly between the EXE and SAL groups (P = 0.13). M-30-positive (apoptotic) acinar and ductal cell number did not change after SAL or EXE treatment. No changes in ductal density and volume were observed after EXE or SAL. Interestingly, by triple-immunofluorescence staining, we detected c-kit (a marker of cell transdifferentiation) positive ductal cells co-expressing insulin in ducts only in the EXE group at study end, suggesting that EXE may promote the differentiation of ductal cells toward a β-cell phenotype. In conclusion, 14 weeks of EXE treatment did not exert any negative effect on exocrine pancreas, by inducing either pancreatic inflammation or hyperplasia/dysplasia in nonhuman primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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