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Langley, K.; Aletsee, M. C.; Gratzl, Manfred (1987): Endocrine cells share expression of N-CAM with neurones. In: FEBS Letters, Vol. 220: pp. 108-112


The reeent explosive interest in eell adhesion molecules (CAMs) is a direet eonsequence of the fundamental roles they are thought to play during early embryogenesis and tissue formation [1,2]. The most weIl known of them, studied independently under the names of N-CAM [3] (neural-CAM), 02 protein [4] and BSP-2 [5], has been shown to consist in brain of a family of three glyeoproteins of Mr 180000, 140000 and 120000 [6,7] which are implicated in neurone-neurone adhesion by a homophilie binding meehanism [8,9]. While N-CAM was originally considered to be limited to neurones in adult tissues, ultrastruetural immunoeytochemical studies have sinee provided unequivocal evidenee that glial cells, both astrocytes [6,10] and Schwann cells [11], also express N-CAM (see also [12,13]). Apart from a very limited expression by skeletal muscle at the neuromuscular junetion [14], its expression in the adult Correspondence address: O.K. Langley, Unite 44 de I'INSERM, and Centre de Neurochirnie du CNRS, 5 rue Blaise Pascal, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France has been largely though not exclusively considered to be limited to nervous tissues. N-CAM has been found in eertain eells outside the nervous system (e.g. chromaffin eells in the adrenal medulla [11]) but such eells are derived from the neural crest. Here we extend our previous observations on endocrine eells in the adrenal gland and investigate the possible expression of N-CAM by other endoerine eells whieh have a non-neural origin. The present results indieate a mueh wider distribution of N-CAM in adult tissues than has previously been supposed. N-CAM is shown by immunoeytoehemistry to be expressed by several endoerine eells of non-neural origin. Immunoehemieal data eonfirm the presenee of N-CAM determinants typical of brain in endoerine eells although the relative proportions differ markedly. In addition, in two of the tissues examined a lower molecular mass NCAM positive polypeptide was also detected.