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Pancreatic polypeptide — A postulated new hormone: Identification of its cellular storage site by light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry

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A peptide, referred to as pancreatic polypeptide (PP), has recently been isolated from the pancreas of chicken and of several mammals. PP is thought to be a pancreatic hormone. By the use of specific antisera we have demonstrated PP immunoreactivity in the pancreas of a number of mammals. The immunoreactivity was localized to a population of endocrine cells, distinct from the A, B and D cells. In most species the PP cells occurred in islets as well as in exocrine parenchyma; they often predominated in the pancreatic portion adjacent to the duodenum. In opossum and dog, PP cells were found also in the gastric mucosa. In opossum, the PP cells displayed formaldehyde-induced fluorescence typical of dopamine, whereas no formaldehyde-induced fluorescence was detected in the PP cells of mouse, rat and guinea-pig. Also in these latter species, however, PP cells appear to possess amine-handling properties, a feature common to many peptide hormone-producing cells. The ultrastructure of the PP cells was defined by combining immunohistochemistry of semi-thin plastic sections with electron microscopy of adjacent ultrathin sections. PP cells show the ultrastructural features of peptide hormone-secreting cells. The PP cells of cat and dog contain fairly large, rather electron-lucent granules, and are probably identical with the previously described F cells. The PP cells of rat, guinea-pig, chinchilla and man contain small, fairly electron-dense granules. In these latter species no F cells are found. By immunoperoxidase staining of ultrathin sections, the PP immunoreactivity was found to be localized to the cytoplasmic granules. These observations provide support for the view that PP is a true pancreatic hormone.


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Larsson, L.-., Sundler, F. & Håkanson, R. Pancreatic polypeptide — A postulated new hormone: Identification of its cellular storage site by light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. Diabetologia 12, 211–226 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00422088

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Key words

  • Pancreatic hormones
  • “pancreatic polypeptide”
  • islet cells
  • gastrointestinal hormones
  • immunocytochemistry
  • fluorescence histochemistry