Peptide YY (PYY) is 36 amino acid peptide hormone present in high concentrations in the colon where it is colocalized with enteroglucagon in L cells. A selective release of PYY and enteroglucagon from the rabbit colon has been described, raising the question of the exact localization of the two hormones in the rabbit colon. We have therefore examined the distribution of PYY and enteroglucagon as well as somatostatin in the rabbit colon using RIA and electron microscopic immu-nocytochemistry. PYY and enteroglucagon were present in high concentrations in the colorectal mucosa with peak concentrations in the left colon (PYY 544 ± 87 pmol/g, enteroglucagon 152 ± 10 pmol/g). Electron microscopic examination of the colonic mucosa demonstrated a large population (65%) of EC cells, a moderate population (30%) of L cells, and a small population (5%) of D cells. By immunogold labeling serotonin was localized to EC cells, PYY and enteroglucagon to L cells, and somatostatin to the D cell. Double immunogold labeling revealed PYY and enteroglucagon in all L cells examined (93 cells). A majority of the secretory granules (83%) were labeled by both PYY and glucagon antibodies, whereas a significant portion of granules (15%) was labeled by the PYY antibodies alone.The results demonstrate that L cells are the sole source of PYY and enteroglucagon in the rabbit colon and that L cells contain different populations of secretory granules. The existence of different secretory granules in L cells may explain the selective release of PYY and enteroglucagon observed in the rabbit colon.
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