Langley, O. K. and Aletsee-Ufrecht, M. C. and Grant, N. and Gratzl, Manfred
Expression of the neural cell adhesion molecule NCAM in endocrine cells.
In: Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, Vol. 37: pp. 781-791
We examined the expression of the neural cell adhesion molecule NCAM in a number of endocrine tissues of adult rat and in an endocrine tumor cell line. NCAM was found by immunoelectron microscopy to be present on the surface of all endocrine cells in the three lobes of the hypophysis, although staining was relatively less intense in the intermediate lobe, and in pancreatic islets. Pituicytes, hypophyseal glial cells, were also labeled for NCAM. A rat insulinoma cell line (RIN A2) also expressed NCAM as judged by immunocytochemistry. Analysis of NCAM antigenic determinants (Mr 180, 140, and 120 KD) revealed large variations in the relative proportions of NCAM polypeptides present in the different tissues. Although all tissues and cell lines expressed NCAM-140, NCAM-180 was not detected in the adenohypophysis, pancreas, or adrenal medulla, and NCAM-120 was found in none of the endocrine tissues or cell lines except at low levels in the neurohypophysis. The tumor cell line expressed significant levels of NCAM-180, which was most abundant in the neurohypophysis. These results show that NCAM expression appears to be a general property of endocrine cells, although the antigenic composition differs markedly from that in brain tissue. These data are discussed with regard to the embryological origins of the different endocrine tissues, and possible functional implications are suggested.