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Cell Tissue Res. 2008 Mar;331(3):575-87. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Characterization of obestatin- and ghrelin-producing cells in the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas of rats: an immunohistochemical and electron-microscopic study.

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Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.


Both ghrelin and obestatin are derived from preproghrelin by post-translational processing. We have morphologically characterized the cells that produce obestatin and ghrelin in new-born and adult Sprague-Dawley rats that were freely fed, fasted, or subjected to gastric bypass surgery or reserpine treatment. Tissue samples collected from the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas were examined by double-immunofluorescence staining, immunoelectron microscopy, and conventional electron microscopy. Obestatin was present in the stomach, duodenum, jejunum, colon, and pancreas. In the stomach, differences were noted in the development of obestatin- and preproghrelin-immunreactive (IR) cells on the one hand and ghrelin-IR cells on the other, particularly 2 weeks after birth. Preproghrelin- and obestatin-IR cells were more numerous than ghrelin-IR cells in the stomach, suggesting the lack of ghrelin in some A-like cells. Most obestatin-producing cells in the stomach were distributed in the basal part of the oxyntic mucosa; these cells co-localized with chromogranin A (pancreastatin) and vesicle monoamine transporters type 1 and 2, but not with serotonin or histidine decarboxylase. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed the obestatin- and ghrelin-producing cells to be A-like cells, characterized by numerous highly electron-dense granules containing ghrelin and obestatin. Some granules exhibited an even electron density with thin electron-lucent halos, suggestive of monoamines. Feeding status, gastric bypass surgery, and reserpine treatment had no obvious effect on the A-like cells. In the pancreas, obestatin was present in the peripheral part of the islets, with a distribution distinct from that of glucagon-producing A cells, insulin-producing beta cells, and cells producing pancreatic polypeptide Y. Thus, obestatin and ghrelin co-localize with an anticipated monoamine in A-like cells in the stomach, and obestatin is found in pancreatic islets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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