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At present, data on the endocannabinoid system expression and distribution in the pancreatic gland appear scarce and controversial as descriptions are limited to humans and laboratory animals. Since the bovine pancreas is very similar to the human in endocrine portion development and control, studies on the fetal gland could prove to be very interesting, as an abnormal maternal condition during late pregnancy may be a predisposing trigger for adult metabolic disorders. The present investigation studied cannabinoid receptor type 2 presence and distribution in the bovine fetal pancreas towards the end of gestation. Histological analyses revealed numerous endocrinal cell clusters or islets which were distributed among exocrine adenomeri in connectival tissue. Immunohistochemistry showed that endocrine-islets contained some CB2-positive cells with a very peculiar localization that is a few primarily localized at the edges of islets and some of them also scattered in the center of the cluster. Characteristically, also the epithelium of the excretory ducts and the smooth muscle layers of the smaller arteries, in the interlobular glandular septa, tested positive for the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor. Conse - quently, the endocannabinoid system, via the cannabinoid receptor type 2, was hypothesized to play a major role in controlling pancreas function from normal fetal development to correct metabolic functioning in adulthood.
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