Characterisation of CART-containing neurons and cells in the porcine pancreas, gastro-intestinal tract, adrenal and thyroid glands.

Nils Wierup, Anna Gunnarsdottir, Eva Ekblad, Frank Sundler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (SciVal)
181 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The peptide CART is widely expressed in central and peripheral neurons, as well as
in endocrine cells. Known peripheral sites of expression include the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the
pancreas, and the adrenal glands. In rodent pancreas CART is expressed both in islet endocrine
cells and in nerve fibers, some of which innervate the islets. Recent data show that CART is a
regulator of islet hormone secretion, and that CART null mutant mice have islet dysfunction. CART
also effects GI motility, mainly via central routes. In addition, CART participates in the regulation
of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis. We investigated CART expression in porcine pancreas,
GI-tract, adrenal glands, and thyroid gland using immunocytochemistry.
Results: CART immunoreactive (IR) nerve cell bodies and fibers were numerous in pancreatic and
enteric ganglia. The majority of these were also VIP IR. The finding of intrinsic CART containing
neurons indicates that pancreatic and GI CART IR nerve fibers have an intrinsic origin. No CART
IR endocrine cells were detected in the pancreas or in the GI tract. The adrenal medulla harboured
numerous CART IR endocrine cells, most of which were adrenaline producing. In addition CART
IR fibers were frequently seen in the adrenal cortex and capsule. The capsule also contained CART
IR nerve cell bodies. The majority of the adrenal CART IR neuronal elements were also VIP IR.
CART IR was also seen in a substantial proportion of the C-cells in the thyroid gland. The majority
of these cells were also somatostatin IR, and/or 5-HT IR, and/or VIP IR.
Conclusion: CART is a major neuropeptide in intrinsic neurons of the porcine GI-tract and
pancreas, a major constituent of adrenaline producing adrenomedullary cells, and a novel peptide
of the thyroid C-cells. CART is suggested to be a regulatory peptide in the porcine pancreas, GItract,
adrenal gland and thyroid.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Neuroscience
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurosciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterisation of CART-containing neurons and cells in the porcine pancreas, gastro-intestinal tract, adrenal and thyroid glands.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this