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Differential expression of vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT) 1 and 2 in gastrointestinal endocrine tumours.

Journal article
Authors A M Jakobsen
P Andersson
G Saglik
E Andersson
Lars Kölby
J D Erickson
Eva Forssell-Aronsson
Bo Wängberg
Håkan Ahlman
Ola Nilsson
Published in The Journal of pathology
Volume 195
Issue 4
Pages 463-72
ISSN 0022-3417
Publication year 2001
Published at Institute of Selected Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiation Physics
Institute of Surgical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Pages 463-72
Language en
Keywords Blotting, Western, Case-Control Studies, Chromogranin A, Chromogranins, metabolism, Gastrointestinal Neoplasms, metabolism, Humans, Membrane Glycoproteins, metabolism, Membrane Transport Proteins, Neuroendocrine Tumors, metabolism, Neuropeptides, Serotonin, metabolism, Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase, metabolism, Vesicular Biogenic Amine Transport Proteins, Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology, Surgery


Neuroendocrine tumours are characterized by their capacity to produce hormones, which are stored in vesicles and secretory granules. Demonstration of granule/vesicle proteins in tumours is taken as evidence of neuroendocrine differentiation. Vesicular monoamine transporters (VMAT1 and VMAT2) mediate the transport of amines into vesicles of neurons and endocrine cells. The expression of VMAT1 and VMAT2 and the usefulness of VMAT1 and VMAT2 in the histopathological diagnosis of gastrointestinal endocrine tumours have not been fully explored. This study therefore investigated the expression of VMAT1 and VMAT2 in 211 human gastrointestinal tumours by immunocytochemistry and western blotting. VMAT1 and/or VMAT2 were demonstrated in the majority of amine-producing endocrine tumours of gastric, ileal, and appendiceal origin. Serotonin-producing endocrine tumours (ileal and appendiceal carcinoids) expressed predominantly VMAT1, while histamine-producing endocrine tumours (gastric carcinoids) expressed VMAT2 almost exclusively. In peptide-producing endocrine tumours such as rectal carcinoids and endocrine pancreatic tumours, only a small number of immunopositive tumour cells were observed. No labelling was found in non-endocrine tumours, including gastric, colorectal and pancreatic adenocarcinomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. In conclusion, VMAT1 and VMAT2 are differentially expressed by gastrointestinal endocrine tumours, with a pattern specific for each tumour type, reflecting their neuroendocrine differentiation and origin. VMAT1 and VMAT2 may therefore become valuable markers in the classification of neuroendocrine tumours and may also indicate patients suitable for radioisotope treatment operating via these transporter systems.

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