Ramón Muñoz-Chápuli and Rita Carmona, researchers of the UMA Department of Animal Biology, have identified a new molecular mechanism involved in pancreas repair.
These experts have demonstrated that Wt1 gene deletion causes deterioration of pancreas. A mouse study has evidenced that, a few days after silencing this gene, pancreatic tissue deteriorates, acini -producers of pancreatic enzymes- losses adhesion and, also, a severe edema occurs.
Furthermore, they have verified that, after a pancreatic damage, Wt1 gene becomes activated in the so-called stellate cells -a special type of repairing cell present in pancreas and kidney- which are responsible for the repairing process. "Without activation of Wt1, these cells cannot fulfill their function", says the Professor Muñoz-Chápuli, who further points out the crucial role that these cells play in the progression of pancreas cancer, since they ally to tumor cells.
Thus, the results of this study reveal that Wt1 gene is necessary not only for the normal maintenance of pancreas, but also for its repair after a damage.
The Wilms' tumor suppressor gene encodes a protein that acts as a master regulator of the function of many other genes, so, as assured by these experts, it plays an important role in the embryonic development of different organs, such as kidneys, spleen, or heart. Likewise, in recent years, findings have been proving that this functional importance also extends to adults.