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Increased Chromogranin A-Positive Hormone-Negative Cells in Chronic Pancreatitis.

  • Author(s): Moin, Abu Saleh Md
  • Cory, Megan
  • Choi, Jennifer
  • Ong, Allison
  • Dhawan, Sangeeta
  • Dry, Sarah M
  • Butler, Peter C
  • Rizza, Robert A
  • Butler, Alexandra E
  • et al.


Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is characterized by inflammation, fibrosis, and a loss of pancreatic acinar cells, which can result in exocrine and eventually endocrine deficiency. Pancreatitis has been reported to induce formation of new endocrine cells (neogenesis) in mice. Our recent data have implicated chromogranin A-positive hormone-negative (CPHN) cells as potential evidence of neogenesis in humans.


We sought to establish if CPHN cells were more abundant in CP in humans.

Design, setting, and participants

We investigated the frequency and distribution of CPHN cells and the expression of the chemokine C-X-C motif ligand 10 (CXCL10) and its receptor chemokine C-X-C motif receptor 3 in pancreas of nondiabetic subjects with CP.


CPHN cell frequency in islets was increased sevenfold in CP [2.1% ± 0.67% vs 0.35% ± 0.09% CPHN cells in islets, CP vs nonpancreatitis (NP), P < 0.01], as were the CPHN cells found as scattered cells in the exocrine areas (17.4 ± 2.9 vs 4.2 ± 0.6, CP vs NP, P < 0.001). Polyhormonal endocrine cells were also increased in CP (2.7 ± 1.2 vs 0.1 ± 0.04, CP vs NP, % of polyhormonal cells of total endocrine cells, P < 0.01), as was expression of CXCL10 in α and β cells.


There is increased islet endogenous expression of the inflammation marker CXCL10 in islets in the setting of nondiabetic CP and an increase in polyhormonal (insulin-glucagon expressing) cells. The increase in CPHN cells in CP, often in a lobular distribution, may indicate foci of attempted endocrine cell regeneration.

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