Distribution and variable expression of secretory pathway protein reticulocalbin in normal human organs and non-neoplastic pathological conditions

J Histochem Cytochem. 2007 Apr;55(4):335-45. doi: 10.1369/jhc.6A6943.2006. Epub 2006 Dec 22.


Reticulocalbin (RCN) is one member of the Ca(2+)-binding proteins in the secretory pathway and is localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. RCN may play a role in the normal behavior and life of cells, although its detailed role remains unknown. Overexpression of RCN may also play a role in tumorigenesis, tumor invasion, and drug resistance. The new antibody for human RCN is used in the distribution of RCN in normal human organs of fetuses and adults with or without inflammation. Immunohistochemical examination demonstrated a broad distribution of RCN in various organs of fetuses and adults, predominantly in the endocrine and exocrine organs. However, RCN expression was heterogeneous in each constituent cell of some organs. Among non-epithelial organs, vascular endothelial cells, testicular germ cells, neurons, and follicular dendritic cells showed strong staining. Plasma cells were the only RCN-positive cells among hematopoietic and lymphoid cells. In inflammatory conditions, RCN expression was enhanced in both epithelial and non-epithelial cells. Heterogeneous expression of RCN indicates that the amount of RCN needed for cell behavior and life may be variable, depending on each cell type and, therefore, RCN may be helpful in establishing the cell origin of neoplasms in some organs. However, further study is needed to establish the significance of RCN in tumorigenesis and in some peculiar features of neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blotting, Western
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Precancerous Conditions / embryology
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • reticulocalbin