Expression of Neuroendocrine Markers in Normal and Neoplastic Tissue with an Emphasis on Ghrelin and Obestatin
Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis was to characterize the expression of the peptides ghrelin and obestatin, as well as other neuroendocrine markers in human normal tissues, in invasive breast cancer and a wide panel of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).In normal tissues the expression of ghrelin and obestatin was mainly localized to the gastric mucosa, and in lesser extent in the remaining gastrointestinal tract, endocrine pancreas and mammary glands. Double immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that ghrelin and obestatin were co-localized in the same cells displaying the same cytoplasmic distribution.In normal breast tissue, ghrelin, obestatin, adrenomedullin, apelin and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 were specifically demonstrated in the luminal epithelial cells. Consecutive sections indicated that mammary epithelial cells could express several of these peptides. Secretogranin II and III were also detected in breast tissue, but their presence was restricted to the outer layer of myoepithelial cells, whereas chromogranin B immunoreactivity was found in both the epithelial and myoepithelial cells.Ghrelin and obestatin immunoreactivity was seen in invasive breast cancer, where the expression could be correlated to factors associated with prognosis. Furthermore, multivariate analysis indicated that ghrelin expression was a possible independent prognostic factor for prolonged recurrence-free and breast cancer-specific survival.In a panel of NETs and endocrine-related disorders it was revealed that ghrelin and obestatin immunoreactivity was primarily found in tumors originating from the respective normal tissues. The two proteins were detected in only a few cases and only occasional tumor cells were immunoreactive.In conclusion, ghrelin and obestatin are localized in the gastrointestinal tract, endocrine pancreas and mammary glands. This thesis has contributed to our understanding of the distribution of ghrelin and obestatin in both normal tissue and tumor cells. A potential role of ghrelin as a prognostic factor in invasive breast cancer has been identified and should be further explored.
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