Calretinin and calbindin-D28k immunoreactivity in the human gastrointestinal tract

Gastroenterology. 1993 May;104(5):1381-9. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(93)90346-e.


Background: Calretinin and calbindin-D28k are similar Ca(2+)-binding proteins previously described in specific central neurons and other cells.

Methods: The immunocytochemical distribution of these two proteins was studied in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Results: In gastric and small intestinal endocrine cells, calbindin-D28k immunoreactivity was confirmed, but calretinin immunoreactivity was not found. Nerve cell bodies in both submucous and myenteric ganglia were immunoreactive for calbindin (13% and 38% of total cells, respectively) or calretinin (23% and 21%), some containing both proteins. In nerve processes, calretinin was generally more abundant than calbindin and was found particularly around blood vessels. Calretinin co-localized with immunoreactive vasoactive intestinal peptide, neuropeptide Y, galanin, or substance P in submucous ganglion cells and with substance P in myenteric cells. Calbindin-D28k colocalized with fewer peptides, specifically vasoactive intestinal peptide or galanin in submucous cells. By 8 weeks of fetal development, discrete neuronal localizations for both proteins and for calbindin-D28k in endocrine cells were apparent.

Conclusions: In the enteric neuroendocrine system, calretinin and calbindin-D28k are useful markers that may help elucidate Ca(2+)-mediated functions in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Digestive System / cytology
  • Digestive System / innervation
  • Digestive System / metabolism*
  • Endocrine Glands / cytology
  • Endocrine Glands / metabolism
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestines / embryology
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / chemistry
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • CALB1 protein, human
  • CALB2 protein, human
  • Calbindin 1
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Peptides
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G