Chromogranin A and secretogranin II are members of the so-called chromogranins, the acidic proteins stored in neuroendocrine large dense-core vesicles. We characterized chromogranin A and secretogranin II immunoreactivities in cerebrospinal fluid by radioimmunoassays using synthetic peptides derived from these components (GE-25 for chromogranin A and secretoneurin for secretogranin II). In lumbar cerebrospinal fluid, high levels (more than 1000 fmol/ml) of these two components were found, whereas in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid the secretoneurin levels were relatively low. The cerebrospinal fluid/serum ratio for secretoneurin was close to 170. High-performance liquid chromatography revealed that in both cerebrospinal fluid and extracts from human brain secretoneurin was the predominant immunoreactive component. In cerebrospinal fluid chromogranin A immunoreactivity was present as intermediate-sized peptides with little intact chromogranin A and free GE-25 peptide. In human brain samples smaller peptides including GE-25 were more predominant. Analogous findings for secretoneurin and chromogranin A were obtained for bovine brain samples. We can conclude that chromogranins are present in cerebrospinal fluid in concentrations much higher than those of classical neuropeptides also stored in large dense-core vesicles. Therefore, their degree of proteolytic processing can be analysed with small samples of cerebrospinal fluid. A possible disturbance of proteolytic processing in large dense-core vesicles in various pathological conditions can now be discovered.
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