Gel-eluted bovine chromogranin (CG), the 75,000 dalton acidic protein abundantly present in adrenal chromaffin granules, was used as immunogen to prepare anti-CG serum. The specificity of the antiserum was demonstrated in immunoblots of electrophoresed bovine CG and in immunohistochemical studies of bovine adrenal medulla. In the immunoblots, the predominant immunoreactive band had a molecular weight of 75,000 daltons. Bands with a higher or lower molecular weight were also immunoreactive and may represent CG precursors or breakdown products. In the adrenal gland, only adrenal chromaffin cells contained CG immunoreactivity. Immunoblots and immunohistochemistry were also used to characterize the distribution of CG in bovine tissues. CG was expressed by cells of the diffuse neuroendocrine system (DNS) including: adrenal chromaffin cells, enterochromaffin cells, pancreatic islet cells, cells of the adenohypophysis, thyroid C cells, parathyroid cells, and submandibular gland. CG was also seen in four locations not previously recognized to express this antigen: thymic epithelial cells, neurons, the inner segment of rods and cones, and the submandibular gland. We demonstrate a wider distribution of CG than previously recognized and that the molecule detected in tissue by immunohistochemistry is indeed CG. We conclude that CG is expressed by neurons, cells of the DNS, and by a few other cells that may or may not be related to the DNS. The antiserum described here should prove valuable in developing an understanding of the function(s) of CG.
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