Expression and localization of vesicular glutamate transporters in pancreatic islets, upper gastrointestinal tract, and testis

Mitsuko Hayashi, Riyo Morimoto, Akitsugu Yamamoto, Yoshinori Moriyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The wide-ranging expression of glutamate receptors in peripheral tissues suggests an unexpectedly wider role(s) of L-glutamate as an intercellular signaling molecule. However, the peripheral glutamatergic system is poorly understood, partly because the sites of L-glutamate signal appearance are less well characterized. Vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs) are potential probes for the sites of vesicular storage and subsequent secretion of L-glutamate. In this study we raised specific polyclonal antibodies against two VGLUT isoforms, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, and investigated their localization in peripheral tissues of rat. We detected the expression of either VGLUT1 or VGLUT2, or both, in pancreas, stomach, intestine, and testis. In pancreas, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 are present in pancreatic polypeptide-containing secretory granules in F-cells in the islets of Langerhans. In stomach, VGLUT2 is abundant in the antrum and pylorus and is present in a subset of pancreatic polypeptide-containing cells. In intestine, VGLUT2 is abundant in the ileum and is co-localized with glucagon-like immunoreactive peptide and polypeptide YY (PYY). In testis, VGLUT2 is expressed and localized in the outer acrosomal membrane of spermatids, where KA1 and GluR5, kainate receptor subunits, are almost always localized. Taken together, these results strongly suggest the occurrence of a peripheral glutamatergic system in the gastroenteropancreatic system and testis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1390
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Acrosome
  • Gastroenteropancreatic system
  • Islet of Langerhans
  • L-cells
  • L-glutamate
  • Spermatid
  • Vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT1, VGLUT2)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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