Multiple hormone storage by 'polycrine' cells in the pancreas (from a case of nesidioblastosis)

G. R. Newman, B. Jasani, E. D. Williams

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic tissue from a case of neonatal hypoglycaemia with nesidioblastosis has been studied by routine light and electron microscope techniques and by highly sensitive light and electron microscope immunolocalization methods. A hyperplastic nodule within the pancreas from this case contained enlarged distorted haemorrhagic islets, with a variable rim of exocrine tissue. Islet cells in these areas were shown to contain more than one hormone in separate granules. An immunoperoxidase system using hapten-labelled primary antibodies and photochemical amplification applied to serial semithin sections suggested a consistent overlap between insulin and glucagon immunoreactive cells. Serial ultrathin sections of tissue embedded in LR White showed that some heteromorphous cells with predominantly β-granules also contained a minority population of granules which had either glucagon or glicentin immunoreactivity. In adjacent studies, the same techniques confirmed that the majority population of granules did indeed contain insulin, and immunocolloidal gold methods were used to show that glucagon and glicentin containing granules were present in the same cells. The significance of these findings is discussed, including the possibility that cells containing more than one granule type might represent a subpopulation of facultative cells in transit from producing one hormone to producing a second. The importance of sensitive immuno-electron microscopy in the investigation of endocrine lesions is stressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalThe Histochemical Journal
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology


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