2016 Volume 29 Issue 3 Pages 147-154
As basic knowledge for evaluation of pancreatic toxicity, anatomical structures were compared among experimental animal species, including rats, dogs, monkeys, and minipigs. In terms of gross anatomy, the pancreases of dogs, monkeys, and minipigs are compact and similar to that of humans. The rat pancreas is relatively compact at the splenic segment, but the duodenal segment is dispersed within the mesentery. In terms of histology, the islet of each animal is characterized by a topographic distribution pattern of α- versus β-cells. β-cells occupy the large central part of the rat islet, and α-cells are located in the periphery and occasionally exhibit cuffing. In dog islets, β-cells are distributed in all parts and α-cells are scattered in the center or periphery of the islet (at body and left lobe); whereas β-cells occupy all parts of the islet and no α-cells are present in the islet (at right lobe). Monkey islets show two distinct patterns, that is, α-cell-rich or β-cell-rich islets, and the former represent peripheral β-cells forming an irregular ring. Minipig islets show an irregular outline, and both α- and β-cells are present in all parts of the islet, intermingling with each other. According to morphometry, the endocrine tissue accounts for <2% of the pancreas roughly in rats and minipigs, and that of monkeys accounts for >7% of the pancreas (at tail). The endocrine tissue proportion tends to increase as the position changes from right to left in the pancreas in each species.