Synaptic vesicle protein 2 (SV2) is a glycoprotein identified in the nervous system of several species, including man, but its occurrence in the human neuroendocrine (NE) cell system has not been investigated. By using a monoclonal antibody to SV2, immunoreactivities were demonstrated in NE cell types in human gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, anterior pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal medulla, and also in chief cells of gastric oxyntic mucosa. Immunoelectron microscopy of pancreatic islets revealed SV2 immunoreactivity in secretory granules. Comparison of SV2, synaptophysin, and chromogranin A immunoreactivity showed more SV2- and synaptophysin- than chromogranin A-immunoreactive cells in the antrum and pancreas. In the other gastrointestinal regions and in the other endocrine organs more SV2- than synaptophysin-immunoreactive cells were seen. More chromogranin A- than SV2-immunoreactive cells were observed in duodenum, colon, and parathyroid. Various NE tumors were examined and all contained SV2-immunoreactive cells. The staining patterns with the three markers agreed well, except in hindgut carcinoids, which showed strong SV2 immunoreactivity, weak synaptophysin but no chromogranin A immunostaining. In pituitary adenomas more cells were immunoreactive to SV2 than to the other two antibodies. In conclusion, SV2 is recognized as a further broad marker for NE cells and widens the arsenal of diagnostic tools for NE tumors. It is of special importance for identifying hindgut carcinoids.