Met enkephalin-like immunoreactivity in Merkel cells

Cell Tissue Res. 1979 Oct;201(3):343-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00236994.


The Merkel cells from sinus hair follicles of rats were investigated by immunohistochemistry using different antisera against neuropeptides and gastroenteropancreatic (GEP)-hormones. For the first time it has been demonstrated that Merkel cells exhibit an immunoreactivity towards metenkephalin (methionine-enkephalin). The met-enkephalin immunoreactivity was restricted to Merkel cells and was not found in associated nerve axons or terminals. Denervation of Merkel cells did not affect the met-enkephalin immunoreactivity. Antisera leu-enkephalin (leucine-enkephalin) and other polypeptides did not produce an immunoreaction. The demonstration of met-enkephalin-like immunoreactivity supports the concept that the Merkel cell is a member of the paraneuronal system and a potential neuroreceptor cell.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Endorphins / metabolism*
  • Enkephalins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Immunochemistry
  • Male
  • Melanocytes / metabolism*
  • Melanocytes / physiology
  • Rats
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology


  • Endorphins
  • Enkephalins