The distribution of a bombesin-like immunoreactive peptide in the avian gastro-intestinal tract was analysed by combined radioimmunoassay and immunocytochemistry. Radioimmunoassay of tissue extracts showed that the largest quantities of bombesin-like immunoreactivity were present in the proventriculus (64.5±6.0 pmol/g) with smaller but still considerable amounts in the gizzard (40.0±6.0 pmol/g). Immunocytochemically the extractable bombesin-like immunoreactivity was localised in numerous endocrine cells. These, in the proventriculus, were found mainly in the deeper layers of the mucosa. Further study of these cells by the semi-thin/thin technique revealed the presence of characteristic secretory granules. The functional name BN is proposed for this cell type.
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