Chromogranin A, B and C immunoreactivities of mammalian endocrine cells. Distribution, distinction from costored hormones/prohormones and relationship with the argyrophil component of secretory granules

Histochemistry. 1986;85(1):19-28. doi: 10.1007/BF00508649.


Antibodies specific for chromogranin A, B or C have been used to detect immunohistochemically these three anionic proteins. Pancreatic A, B and PP cells, gut argentaffin EC, argyrophil ECL and gastrin G cells, thyroid C cells, parathyroid cells, adrenal medullary cells, pituitary TSH, FSH and LH cells as well as some axons of visceral nerves have been found to react with chromogranin A antibodies. Pancreatic A, gut EC and G, adrenal medullary and pituitary cells as well as some gut nerve fibers showed chromogranin B immunoreactivity. Chromogranin C immunoreactivity has been detected in pancreatic A, pyloric D1, intestinal L, thyroid C, adrenal medullary and pituitary cells, as well as in some gut neurons and nerve fibers. No crossreactivity has been found in immunohistochemical tests between chromogranins A, B or C and costored monoamines or peptide hormones/prohormones, from which chromogranins can be separated by selective extraction during fixation. On both morphological and chemical grounds a relationship seems to exist between chromogranin A and Grimelius' argyrophilia. Sialooligosaccharide chains of chromogranin A and, possibly, chromogranins' phosphoserine/phosphothreonine groups, seem to interact with guanidyl, amino, and/or imidazole groups of non-chromogranin components to form silver complexing sites accounting for granules' argyrophilia, which can be removed or blocked without affecting chromogranin immunoreactivities. The abundant anionic groups of the three proteins should contribute substantially to granules' basophilia, the partly "masked" pattern of which supports the existence of a close interaction of such groups with other components of secretory granules, including monoamines and peptide hormones or prohormones. Chromogranins could play a rôle in hormone postranslational biosynthesis and intragranular packaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / cytology
  • Animals
  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins / analysis*
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure*
  • Endocrine Glands / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Proteins*
  • Species Specificity
  • Thyroid Gland / cytology


  • CHGA protein, human
  • Chromogranin A
  • Chromogranins
  • Immune Sera
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proteins