Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Localisation of insulin-like immunoreactivity has been studied using the immunogold staining procedure on thin sections of 6 human insulinomas, conventionally processed for electron microscopy. The labelling was restricted to the secretory granules. Depending on their morphology, these either resembled B-cell granules of human adult pancreas or belonged to the atypical (non-diagnostic) group. Within the former group, those with a crystalloid core or an amorphous dense or moderately dense core were strongly immunoreactive, whereas others, filled with a pale material, were poorly labelled. Most granules of this type were stored together within the heavily granulated cells of 3 insulinomas, presenting the classical features of clinical and biological behaviour and a typical light microscopic staining pattern. In contrast, the non-diagnostic granules, characterized by their smaller size, a very dense core and a thin halo, were mainly found within the poorly granulated cells making up the other tumours, and showed a very uneven labelling. Strongly labelled granules were found in one insulinoma that also belonged to the classical type; these were stored together with a few diagnostic granules within the same cells. Only poorly labelled atypical granules were present in two cases revealing a number of unusual features; these included moderate elevation of insulinaemia, uncertain tumour histology, as well as weak immunostaining for insulin/proinsulin and variable argyrophilia of the tumour in paraffin sections. These findings suggest that human insulinomas differ not only in storage capacity but also in their degree of granule maturation. This may involve some deficiency of either the prohormone conversion or the subsequent processing of the cleavage products.
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