Immunolocalization of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) in pancreatic beta cells by means of peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) and protein A-gold techniques

K. H. Johnson, T. D. O'Brien, D. W. Hayden, K. Jordan, H. K.G. Ghobrial, W. C. Mahoney, P. Westermark

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A novel putative polypeptide hormone identified as islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) was recently purified from islet amyloid (IA) of diabetic humans and cats, and also from amyloid of human insulinoma. Although the function of IAPP is yet unknown, its occurrence in pancreatic endocrine tissue and its partial amino acid sequence identity with calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) suggests an endocrine regulatory effect. In the present investigation, the authors utilized antisera to insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, pancreatic polypeptide, synthetic human CGRP, and a synthetic human IAPP (7-17) undecapeptide to immunohistochemically (PAP technique) document the presence of IAPP immunoreactive cells in the islets of the cat, dog, mouse, and rat, but not in the islets of the horse or calf. In serial sections of islets from these species it was shown that IAPP immunoreactivity occurred in insulin-reactive beta cells. This observation was confirmed immunocytochemically in cat islets by means of protein A-gold probes. With protein A-gold labeling tech niques, IAPP immunoreactivity was localized to the outer lucent compartment of the beta cell secretory granule, whereas insulin immunoreactivity was associated with the electron-dense core. These findings provide strong evidence that IAPP or an IAPP precursor is synthesized by beta cells and is stored in beta cell granules for subsequent co-secretion with insulin. The conservation of IAPP in humans and multiple animal species and the localization of IAPP to pancreatic beta cells provide further evidence that IAPP has an important endocrine regulatory function. The propensity of IAPP to polymerize and form IA fibrils in diabetes associated with aging may indicate that IAPP is in some way also linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

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