Presence and coexistence of chromogranin A and multiple neuropeptides in Merkel cells of mammalian oral mucosa

Neurosci Lett. 1988 Jun 29;89(2):121-6. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(88)90367-9.


By the use of light microscopic (LM) immunohistochemistry, Merkel cells of the mammalian oral mucosa have been examined for the presence and coexistence of some neuropeptides and of the neuroendocrine marker chromogranin A (CG-A). Peptide and CG-A immunophenotypes of oral Merkel cells were found to vary between species and to depend on the developmental stage, as exemplarily revealed in the pig. Oral Merkel cells of adult cat, mouse and pig but not those of adult guinea pig stained for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and peptide histidine isoleucine (PHI). Pairs of adjacent sections alternately stained for SP, CGRP, VIP, PHI or for CG-A revealed mutual coexistence of these peptides and of CG-A (if expressed) in individual Merkel cells of hard palate, gingiva and buccal mucosa. CG-A immunoreactivity was restricted to Merkel cells of cat and pig. In adult pig and cat, a much lower number of Merkel cells stained for CG-A and peptide expression was inverse. These results indicate that the chemical coding of Merkel cells in mammalian oral mucosa is much more complex than previously described and depends on the developmental stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins / analysis*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Mouth Mucosa / analysis*
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Neuropeptides / analysis*
  • Swine


  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • chromogranin A, mouse