Cortistatin (CST), a 17-amino acid peptide partially homologous to somatostatin (SRIF), has been originally isolated from the cerebral cortex and recently found in monocytes and macrophages of the immune system. CST binds all 5 SRIF receptors, as well the GH secretagogue (GHS)/ghrelin receptors. CST exerts sleep promoting activities, acts on animal motility and behavior and inhibits GH and insulin secretion. To investigate the possible occurrence and activities in peripheral tissue, expression of CST at the mRNA and peptide level was analyzed in the human pancreas by means of RT-PCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The specific CST mRNA was found in 3 of 4 pancreatic RNA extracts and in the control cerebral cortex. By in situ hybridization, CST mRNA was localized in the pancreatic islets, but not in the exocrine pancreas. This finding was confirmed by immunostaining with a specific antibody to CST-17 which detected CST in single islet cells. These cells also expressed SRIF receptors types 2, 3 and 5, ghrelin and GHS receptors. Thus, our findings show the presence of CST in the human endocrine pancreas. Local autocrine or paracrine circuits, only in part overlapped with those of SRIF, may be active to modulate insulin and/or glucagon levels.
- Endocrine pancreas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism