Using an antiserum to a 15-amino acid synthetic peptide corresponding to amino acids 63-77 of rat preprosomatostatin (rat somatostatin cryptic peptide, RSCP), we have compared the distribution of immunoreactive RSCP (IR-RSCP) with that of immunoreactive somatostatin-14 in the rat brain. IR-RSCP was present in neuronal cell bodies, processes, and axon terminals in the hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular system as well as in diverse regions of the central nervous system in an identical distribution to immunoreactive somatostatin. These observations indicate that in neurons the somatostatin prohormone or the NH2-terminal extension peptide of somatostatin-28 (or both) is stored and transported intracellularly along with somatostatin 14. In addition, the presence of IR-RSCP in nerve terminals suggests that this material may be secreted as a hormone or neuromodulator and may serve as a biologic marker of somatostatin secretion.
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