Immunohistochemical localization of huntingtin-associated protein 1 in endocrine system of the rat

J Histochem Cytochem. 2005 Dec;53(12):1517-24. doi: 10.1369/jhc.5A6662.2005. Epub 2005 Aug 8.


Huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1) was originally found to be localized in neurons and is thought to play an important role in neuronal vesicular trafficking and/or organelle transport. Based on functional similarity between neuron and endocrine cell in vesicular trafficking, we examined the expression and localization of HAP1 in the rat endocrine system using immunohistochemistry. HAP1-immunoreactive cells are widely distributed in the anterior lobe of the pituitary, scattered in the wall of the thyroid follicles, or clustered in the interfollicular space of the thyroid gland, exclusively but diffusely distributed in the medullae of adrenal glands, and selectively located in the pancreas islets. HAP1-containing cells were also found in the mucosa of stomach and small intestine with a distributive pattern similar to that of gastrointestinal endocrine cells. However, no HAP1-immunoreactive cell was found in the cortex of the adrenal gland, the testis, and the ovary. In the posterior lobe of the pituitary, HAP1-immunoreactive products were not detected in the cell bodies but in many stigmoid bodies, one kind of non-membrane-bound cytoplasmic organelle with a central or eccentric electron-lucent core. HAP1-immunoreactive stigmoid bodies were also found in the cytoplasm of endocrine cells in the thyroid gland, the medullae of adrenal gland, the pancreas islets, the stomach, and small intestine. The present study demonstrates that HAP1 is selectively expressed in part of the small peptide-, protein-, and amino-acid analog and derivative-secreting endocrine cells but not in steroid hormone-secreting cells, suggesting that HAP1 is also involved in intracellular trafficking in certain types of endocrine cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Endocrine Glands / metabolism*
  • Enteroendocrine Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism


  • Hap1 protein, rat
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins