The AR4-2J cell line is derived from a transplantable tumour of the exocrine rat pancreas. Acinar in origin, this cell line contains significant amounts of amylase and can be grown in continuous culture. Many in vitro studies have been done using these cells; these studies were often complemented with in vivo experiments on animals. Particularly, many polypeptide hormones interacting with specific receptors located on the cell membrane have been analysed. The accurate knowledge of the hormone-receptor interactions has allowed to design interesting analogs of these hormones. In several cases, these compounds are powerful antagonists and are able to control cell proliferation induced by the corresponding polypeptide hormones. Other cell lines are useful to understand human pancreatic cancer. These human cell lines (Capan-1, Panc-1 for example) are of ductal origin and differ from AR4-2J cells, especially regarding the distribution of several polypeptide hormone and growth factor receptors. Both models are important for basic studies of neuropeptides, gastrointestinal peptides and their receptors, as well as for a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of human pancreatic cancer.

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