The human medullary carcinomas are well known to secrete calcitonin (CT) as a neuroendocrine peptide and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) as a serum protein that is integrated into the cell membrane. This ultrastructural study is designed to elucidate whether CT and CEA are secreted via two different intracellular secretory pathways, a regulated pathway and a constitutive pathway. The immunoelectron microscopic postembedding method, performed on four cases of the human medullary carcinomas of the thyroid using plastic embedding material, disclosed two distinct different localization patterns for CT and CEA. CT was localized exclusively in dense cored secretory granules. CEA was present in the cell membrane and in the secretory vesicles. The secretory granules were completely negative for CEA. The trans-Golgi networks were also positive for CT and CEA. Electron microscopic double staining confirmed these localization in the same carcinoma cells. These observations suggest the presence of two distinct pathways in the endocrine cancer cells, i.e., the regulated pathway for CT and the constitutive pathway for CEA.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 01-01-1997|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine