Mimicking and Manipulating Pancreatic Acinar-to-Ductal Metaplasia in 3-dimensional Cell Culture

Alicia K. Fleming Martinez, Peter Storz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The differentiation of acinar cells to ductal cells during pancreatitis and in the early development of pancreatic cancer is a key process that requires further study. To understand the mechanisms regulating acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), ex vivo 3D culture and differentiation of primary acinar cells to ductal cells offers many advantages over other systems. With the technique herein, modulation of protein expression is simple and quick, requiring only one day to isolate, stimulate or virally infect, and begin culturing primary acinar cells to investigate the ADM process. In contrast to using basement membrane matrix, the seeding of acinar cell clusters in collagen I extracellular matrix, allows acinar cells to retain their acinar identity before manipulation. This is vital when testing the contribution of various components to the induction of ADM. Not only are the effects of cytokines or other ectopically administered factors testable through this technique, but the contribution of common mutations, increased protein expression, or knockdown of protein expression is testable via viral infection of primary acinar cells, using adenoviral or lentiviral vectors. Moreover, cells can be re-isolated from collagen or basement membrane matrix at the endpoint and analyzed for protein expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59096
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number144
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • 3-dimensional culture
  • Cancer Research
  • Issue 144
  • Primary acinar cells
  • acinar-to-ductal metaplasia
  • adenoviral vectors
  • lentiviral vectors
  • pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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