Objectives Nociceptin has been reported to play an important role in the regulation of pancreatic exocrine secretion. Most of the studies performed on nociceptin are mainly physiological rather than morphological in nature. The present study investigated the pattern of distribution of nociceptin in the endocrine pancreas of normal and diabetic rats. Methods Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, Western blot, and double-labeled immunoelectron microscopy were used in this study. Diabetes was induced using streptozotocin (60 mg/kg body weight). Results Nociceptin-immunoreactive cells were observed in the central and peripheral regions of the islets of both normal and diabetic rat pancreas. The number of nociceptin-positive cells was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the islet of diabetic rats compared with the control. Immunofluorescence study showed that nociceptin colocalizes with insulin in pancreatic β-cells. The degree of colocalization of nociceptin with insulin was severely deranged after the onset of diabetes. Moreover, immunogold particles conjugated with either nociceptin or insulin were observed on the granules of pancreatic β-cell. The number of nociceptin-labeled colloidal gold particles was significantly lower after the onset of diabetes. Conclusions Nociceptin is present in pancreatic islets cells and colocalizes with insulin. Nociceptin may have a physiological role in the metabolism of insulin.
- diabetes mellitus
- islet cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism