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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Jun 8;284(2):395-403.

Neuroendocrine cells along the digestive tract express neuropilin-2.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000, Israel.


Neuropilin-2 (np-2) is a receptor for semaphorin-3F (sema-3F) and semaphorin-3C (sema-3C). These semaphorins repel tips of growing axons that express np-2. In addition, np-2 functions as a receptor for heparin binding forms of the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) such as VEGF145 and VEGF165. We report that np-2 is strongly expressed in neuroendocrine cells located all along the human digestive tract. Confocal fluorescent microscopy revealed that np-2 is concentrated in vesicle-like structures located near the nucleus at the basolateral side of these cells. In the colon, the np-2-expressing subpopulation of neuroendocrine cell is almost identical with the serotonin-producing subpopulation of neuroendocrine cells. Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors are digestive tract tumors that develop from neuroendocrine cells. Interestingly, most of the carcinoid tumors derived from the colon and the appendix did not contain np-2-producing cells. However, some carcinoid tumors derived from the small intestine and stomach did express low levels of np-2 in isolated foci of cells. By contrast, strong serotonin and chromogranin-A expression was observed in all of the carcinoid tumors that were examined. These results suggest that loss of np-2 expression may accompany tumor progression in carcinoid tumors.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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