Cytochemical localization of NADPH-diaphorase in the four types of pancreatic islet cell

L. Bouwens, G. Klöppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


NADPH-diaphorase activity, which has been previously reported to be associated with the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS), was localized cytochemically in the pancreatic islets of normal rats. All islet cells types, i.e. insulin-, glucagon-, somatostatin- and pancreatic polypeptide-immunoreactive cells, expressed NADPH-diaphorase histochemical activity, whereas the exocrine tissue was almost negative. In streptozotocin-treated rats, only the surviving non-beta cells in the islet periphery were stained. Isolated beta and non-beta cells also expressed intense NADPH-diaphorase activity. By electron microscopy, the enzyme was localized primarily on membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum and nuclear envelope, as previously reported for neurons. In addition the enzyme activity was found in the cis-region of the Golgi complex. These results suggest that the four types of endocrine cells of the islets of Langerhans may contain the NOS-enzyme and thus constitutively produce nitric oxide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes


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