Controversy surrounds the role of the Wnt pathway – and particularly its key mediator, β-catenin – in pancreatic exocrine and endocrine cells. Keefe et al. set out to conclusively address the role of β-catenin in adult pancreatic acinar cells using a transgenic labelling approach. They show that loss of β-catenin impairs acinar cell proliferation during postnatal growth and adult homeostasis, as well as during regeneration following injury. By contrast, loss of β-catenin does not affect islet cells, suggesting that diabetes-associated mutations affecting the Wnt pathway have effects elsewhere in the body. These data should help to better understand and develop treatments for diseases of the pancreas, including diabetes, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Page 503

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