Glucagon, glicentin, proglucagon, PYY, PP and proPP-icosapeptide immunoreactivities of rectal carcinoid tumors and related non-tumor cells

R. Fiocca, G. Rindi, C. Capella, L. Grimelius, J. M. Polak, T. W. Schwartz, N. Yanaihara, E. Solcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glucagon/PP-related peptides were detected immunohistochemically in 18 out of 22 cases of rectal tumors investigated. The reactive tumors showed prevalence of trabecular or mixed trabecular-acinar structure and moderate staining with Grimelius' silver and lead-hematoxylin. Three of the remaining 4 cases were characterized by reactivity for 5-hydroxytryptamine only, prevalence of a solid nest structural component and intense staining with Grimelius' silver technique and lead-hematoxylin. Fifteen of the 18 glucagon/PP-reactive cases were investigated immunohistochemically with a series of 6 sera directed against different sequences of glucagon, glicentin and proglucagon, and of 7 sera directed against PP, PYY and proPP-icosapeptide. A large spectrum of glucagon-related immunoreactivities, including C-terminus and mid-portion glucagon-immunoreactivity, N- and C-terminus glicentin-immunoreactivity, GLP1- and GLP2-immunoreactivity, were detected in human rectal L cells and most rectal carcinoids. With the exception of a few scattered cells in the rectal mucosa and in 3 tumors, C-terminus glucagon-immunoreactivity was obtained only after trypsin or subtilisin treatment of tissue sections. Both PYY and PP/proPP-like peptide(s) were detected in rectal L cells and carcinoids, with prevalence of PYY in normal cells and PP/proPP-like peptides in tumor cells. It is concluded that the same or closely related hormone/prohormone sequences are synthesized and stored in rectal endocrine cells and carcinoid tumors although differences of quantitative expression, post-translational cleavage or reactivity to antibodies may occur. The usefulness of protease treatments of tissue sections to unmask immunoreactivities of uncleaved propeptides or fixative-denatured peptides is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-29
Number of pages21
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1987


  • 5-Hydroxytryptamine
  • Glicentin
  • Glucagon
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PP
  • PP-icosapeptide
  • Proglucagon fragment
  • PYY
  • Rectal carcinoid
  • Tumor marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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