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Single nucleus RNA sequencing maps acinar cell states in a human pancreas cell atlas

By Luca Tosti, Yan Hang, Timo Trefzer, Katja Steiger, Foo Wei Ten, Soeren Lukassen, Simone Ballke, Anja A Kuehl, Simone Spieckermann, Rita Bottino, Wilko Weichert, Seung K Kim, Roland Eils, Christian Conrad

Posted 14 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/733964

The cellular heterogeneity of the human pancreas has not been previously characterized due to the presence of extreme digestive enzymatic activities, causing rapid degradation of cells and RNA upon resection. Therefore, previous cellular mapping studies based on gene expression were focused on pancreatic islets, leading to a vast underrepresentation of the exocrine compartment. By profiling the transcriptome of more than 110,000 cells from human donors, we created the first comprehensive pancreas cell atlas including all the tissue components. We unveiled the existence of four different acinar cell states and suggest a division of labor for enzyme production within the healthy exocrine pancreas, which has so far been considered a homogeneous tissue. This work provides a novel and rich resource for future investigations of the healthy and diseased pancreas.

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