Different ghrelin localisation in adult human and rat endocrine pancreas
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Ghrelin is an endocrine peptide that has been identified in gastric oxyntic glands and that induces growth hormone secretion in the pituitary gland. This growth hormone secretagogue is expressed in many tissues such as stomach, pituitary gland, thyroid, testis, placenta and pancreas. Initial studies of ghrelin focused on its role as a circulating orexigenic signal. However, ghrelin has also been found to be involved in the modulation of glucose homeostasis. Although a number of studies have reported ghrelin expression in developing pancreas, the location of ghrelin-immunoreactive cells in adult pancreas (epsilon cells) remains controversial. In this study, we have analysed the distribution of pancreatic epsilon cells in adult human and rat islets by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation. In humans, our immunohistochemical analysis has shown that ghrelin is expressed in glucagon-secreting cells, whereas in rats, it is present in insulin-secreting cells. Similar observations have been revealed by in situ hybridisation.