Insulin, glucagon and somatostatin localization in the pancreas of metamorphosed Xenopus laevis

B. J. Cowan, R. A. Foty, R. A. Liversage

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9 Scopus citations


The current study was designed to determine if insulin, glucagon and somatostatin-containing cells are present in the pancreas of adult Xenopus laevis. Localization methods utilized included cytochemical aldehyde fuchsin (AF) staining as well as the immunochemical peroxidase antiperoxidase (PAP) procedure for light microscopy. The results show numerous large clusters of AF-positive cells within a network of highly vascularized acinar tissue. PAP immunochemical localization with insulin antibody on adjacent sections demonstrates positive immunoreactivity to AF-positive cell groups and also the presence of immunoreactive insulin (IRI). Cells exhibiting this immunoreactivity are located in the central region of the isletlike structures. Serial sections not only show PAP immunoreactivity for IRI, but also for immunoreactive glucagon (IRG) and immunoreactive somatostatin (IRS) in the same islet-like structure. IRG and IRS-containing cells are situated around the periphery of the islet-like structures, surrounding the central core of IRI-containing cells. Antibody specificity was confirmed by homologous and heterologous antigen immuno-absorbance assays, as well as incubation of adjacent sections in preimmune sera. Based on this data we conclude that: the distribution of cells of the endocrine pancreas of metamorphosed Xenopus laevis is similar to that of many mammals and certain urodeles. Given the apparent specificity of the antigen-antibody reactions, it appears that Xenopus insulin, glucagon and somatostatin are structurally conserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-787
Number of pages11
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Endocrine pancreas
  • frog
  • glucagon
  • immunochemistry
  • insulin
  • somatostatin

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