Ultrastructural immunocytochemical localization of l-glutamate decarboxylase and GABA in rat pancreatic zymogen granules

Daniel J. Garry, Mary G. Garry, Robert L. Sorenson

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14 Scopus citations


The ultrastructural immunohistochemical localization of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and its regulating enzymes, l-glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) and gamma aminobutyrate-α-ketoglutarate transaminase, was determined utilizing an immunogold post-embedding protocol in pancreatic exocrine tissue. Within the acinar cell, GABA and its biosynthetic enzyme, GAD, were localized in zymogen granules. Quantitative analysis of the GABA immunoreactivity in the acinar cell revealed 1.7±0.5 gold particles/μm2 over the cytoplasm, 36.6±14.1 gold particles/ μm2 over the zymogen granules, and 2.9±2.1 gold particles /μm2 over the mitochondria. Quantitative analysis of the distribution of colloidal gold particles, representing glutamate decarboxylase immunoreactivity in the acinar cells, revealed 38.4±2.5 gold particles/μm2 over the zymogen granules, 4.7±1.1 gold particles/μm2 over the mitochondria and 6.3±0.5 gold particles/μm2 over the remainder of the cytoplasm. Substitution of normal sheep serum for the sheep anti-glutamate decarboxylase serum revealed a significant (p< 0.001) decrease of the colloidal gold particle distribution over the zymogen granules and cytoplasmic compartments of the acini. Gamma aminobutyrate -α-ketoglutarate transaminase, the catabolic enzyme for GABA, was not detected in the mitochondria, zymogen granules, and cytoplasm of the acinar cell, suggesting that GABA is not catabolized within the acinar cell. Preabsorption and substitution controls resulted in an absence of labeling. These results suggest that GABA may act extracellularly and/or have a role within the zymogen granule in the exocrine pancreas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1988


  • Exocrine pancreas
  • GABA
  • GABA transaminase
  • Glutamate decarboxylase
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Rat


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