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J Histochem Cytochem. 2007 Jun;55(6):619-28. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

VGF metabolic-related gene: distribution of its derived peptides in mammalian pancreatic islets.

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Department of Cytomorphology, University of Cagliari, Monserrato, Italy.


The vgf gene has been shown to be involved in several metabolic pathways. Because the pancreas is crucial to metabolism and food intake, we studied the VGF peptides in bovine, rat, and pig Langherans islets using antisera raised against specific sites along the primary sequence of the rat/mouse and human VGF protein precursor. Whereas almost all of the pancreatic endocrine cells expressed vgf mRNA, when using the VGF antisera a different staining pattern became apparent. VGF(556-565) and VGF(282-291) immunoreactivity were exclusively found in delta somatostatin-producing cells, whereas the human C-terminus antiserum selectively immunolabeled alpha glucagon and pancreatic polypeptide cells. The same cells were decorated with the VGF(443-588) antiserum, which also weakly labeled beta insulin-secreting cells. Finally, the VGF(298-306) peptide and the rat C terminus were found in virtually all pancreatic endocrine cells. Using bovine, swine, and rat pancreatic extracts, data from chromatography and ELISA assay showed the presence of a high molecular mass form compatible with the proVGF and lower molecular mass fractions corresponding to short VGF peptides. In conclusion, selective VGF distribution may suggest a multifaceted cell type-specific processing of proVGF, resulting in different peptides probably involved in neuroendocrine regulatory metabolic mechanisms.

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