We have reported previously that increasing amounts of immunoreactive glucagon (IRG), measured by four specific antisera, appeared in plasma of depancreatized insulin-deficient dogs. It was therefore concluded that pancreatectomy was not accompanied by glucagon deficiency in the dog, but instead excessive amounts of extrapancreatic IRG could contribute to the diabetic syndrome. In order to locate the source of extrapancreatic glucagon, tissue extracts were assayed with anti-glucagon sera 30-K and K-44, which cross-react minimally with crude gut extracts. IRG was detected in all gastrointestinal tissues and in the salivary glands, but not in extracts of liver, kidney, brain, heart atrium, and adenohypophysis. Immunologic dilution curves of extracts from all gastrointestinal tissues were parallel to those of the pure pancreatic glucagon standard, and both antisera (30-K and K-44) measured the same concentrations. The highest concentration of gastrointestinal IRG was found in the fundus and corpus of the stomach. Presence of IRG in gastrointestinal tissues of depancreatized dogs indicates that gastrointestinal cells can not only secrete but also store large amounts of IRG.

Extracts of mucosa of stomach fundus were further purified by gel filtration on Biogel P-30 columns. The immunoreactivity in the eluate was assayed by 30-K and a strongly crossreacting antibody, K-4023. One pooled fraction corresponding to marker pancreatic glucagon in its elution volume was found to contain the largest amount of IRG and the highest specific immunoreactivity (IRG/protein concentration). This fraction showed also the highest activity in a glucagon-receptor assay system. Disc gel electrophoresis in the presence of urea resolved this fraction into three immunoreactive components, one of which was identical to pancreatic glucagon in its electrophoretic mobility. It appears, therefore, that mucosa of the upper stomach in the dog contains a polypeptide similar to pancreatic glucagon.

We conclude that (a) hyperglucagonemia in the dog can result from excessive secretion of IRG not only by the pancreatic α cells but also by cells of the gastrointestinal tract; (b) the highest IRG concentration was found in fundus and corpus of the stomach and lower concentrations throughout the gastrointestinal tract; (c) the IRG component in the stomach displayed immunologic and physical properties similar to pancreatic glucagon.

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