Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary GAWK is a recently discovered peptide isolated from extracts of human pituitary gland and subsequently shown to be identical to sequence 420–493 of human chromogranin B. The distribution of this peptide was studied in human gut, pancreas, adrenal and pituitary glands using antisera to two portions of the 74 amino acid peptide (sequences 1–17 and 20–38). In addition, the co-existence of GAWK immunoreactivity with other peptides and chromogranin B was investigated using comparative immunocytochemistry. In the gut, GAWK was localised mainly to serotonin-containing cells of the mucosal epithelium, where electron microscopy showed it to be stored in typical electron-dense (250 nm diameter) granules, and to a moderate population of nerve fibres in the gut wall. Considerable quantities of GAWK-like immunoreactivity were measured in the gut, up to 36.3±18 pmol GAWK 1–17/g wet weight of tissue (mean±SEM) and 12.4±2.9 pmol GAWK 20–38/g. Chromatography of gut extracts revealed several GAWK-like immunoreactive peaks. GAWK-like immunoreactivity was also detected in endocrine cells of pancreas, pituitary gland and adrenal medulla, where the highest concentrations of GAWK-like immunoreactivity were measured (GAWK 1–17 2071.8±873.2 and GAWK 20–38 1292.7±542.7 pmol/g). Endocrine cells containing GAWK-like immunoreactivity were found also to be immunoreactive for chromogranin B. Our results define a discrete distribution of GAWK immunoreactivity in human endocrine cells and nerves and provide morphological support for the postulated precursor-product relationship between chromogranin B and GAWK. Details of the functions of this peptide are awaited.
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