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Cell Tissue Res. 1979 Oct;201(3):343-8.

Met enkephalin-like immunoreactivity in Merkel cells.


The Merkel cells from sinus hair follicles of rats were investigated by immunohistochemistry using different antisera against neuropeptides and gastroenteropancreatic (GEP)-hormones. For the first time it has been demonstrated that Merkel cells exhibit an immunoreactivity towards metenkephalin (methionine-enkephalin). The met-enkephalin immunoreactivity was restricted to Merkel cells and was not found in associated nerve axons or terminals. Denervation of Merkel cells did not affect the met-enkephalin immunoreactivity. Antisera leu-enkephalin (leucine-enkephalin) and other polypeptides did not produce an immunoreaction. The demonstration of met-enkephalin-like immunoreactivity supports the concept that the Merkel cell is a member of the paraneuronal system and a potential neuroreceptor cell.

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