For citation purposes: Patil S, Bhatnagar R, Tandon A, Bandopadhyay D, Pokhrel R, Solanke K. Chronological changes in microanatomy of pancreatic tissue in human fetuses: Current insight. OA Anatomy 2014 Mar 15;2(1):7.

Research study

Microscopic Anatomy

Chronological changes in microanatomy of pancreatic tissue in human fetuses: Current insight.

S Patil, R Bhatnagar, A Tandon, D Bandopadhyay, R Pokhrel, K Solanke

Authors affiliations

(1) Department of Anatomy, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India

(2) Department of Anatomy, Nepal Army Institute of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal

* Corresponding author Email:



Pancreas is the largest digestive gland and consists of exocrine and endocrine components. The exocrine part is responsible for digestion of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins while the endocrine part (islets of Langerhans) produces various hormones responsible for glucose homeostasis; derangement of which leads to crippling diseases like Diabetes Mellitus. Gene therapy and stem cell therapy are newer frontiers in management of diabetes mellitus especially that of Type I. Our study has been planned to provide an insight into microstructure of pancreas during different stages of foetal development and compare the findings with similar studies available in literature in an attempt to facilitate the incorporation of the new frontiers of therapy.

Materials and methods

Pancreases were dissected out from thirty aborted foetuses of 12 to 40 weeks of gestation, fixed with 4 % formaldehyde, processed, sectioned by paraffin embedding and stained. Mallory’s phosphotungstic acid and Gordon and Sweet stains were used; in addition to routine Haematoxylin & Eosin stains. Observations were noted under light microscope. All foetuses were obtained from the labour room of our affiliated hospital and any foetus with gross anomalies was excluded from the study.


Acini, islets and ducts of the gland were all seen to be developing from primitive tubules and later established their separate identity. Pattern of differentiation of these components was similar to that described by previous researchers.


Histogenesis of pancreas observed during the present study was by and large comparable with earlier studies. It was also found that foetal pancreas of 22-24 weeks gestational age is most suitable for transplantation.

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