• B-cells;
  • bell division;
  • fetal pancreas;
  • insulin;
  • recovery;
  • streptozotocin


In our previous study, after direct administration of streptozotocin (STZ; 400 μg/g) to fetuses on day 19 of gestation, the B-cell volume in fetal pancreatic islets showed a marked decrease, but gradually recovered with electron microscopic confirmation of B-cell regeneration. However, STZ at this dose often caused fetal death. In this study, therefore, we determined whether B-cells are newly generated after treatment with STZ at a smaller dose in vivo and in vitro. For in vivo experiment, fetuses were administered STZ at 40 μg/g on day 19 of gestation. The B-cell volume in pancreatic islets decreased markedly 3 hr after the administration of STZ, but it began to increase after 6 hr. The fetal plasma insulin concentration decreased from 6 to 12 hr after the administration, but recovered after 48 hr. The cell division index in fetal pancreatic islets of the STZ-treated group began to be significantly larger after 6 hr. For in vitro experiment, fetal pancreases on day 18 of gestation were pretreated with 10 mM STZ for 6 hr and cultured for 98 hr. B-cells were completely destroyed with STZ treatment; however, as these pancreases were cultured in a medium free of STZ, B-cells began to appear and insulin secretion was detected after 48 hr. After 72 hr, the cell division index was significantly greater. These results suggest that the fetal pancreas treated with STZ has the ability to regenerate B-cells both in vivo and in vitro. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.