Through the use of radioimmunoassay and immunocytochemical techniques, it was found that the parotid glands of male rats possess a population of cells that contain an insulin-like substance. These cells were situated mainly in groups along the intercalated ducts of the gland, or less frequently as isolated cells, dispersed throughout the acini. No cells displaying insulin-like immunoreactivity were observed in the striated or main excretory ducts of the parotid. After intravenous (i.v.) injections of streptozotocin (STZ) there was a marked depletion of insulin from the pancreatic islets of rats having diabetes for a 3–27-day interval. Although this cytotoxin also reduced the amount of insulin extractable from the parotid, it did not destroy the insulin-like immunoreactive cells found in this gland. The results of this study suggest that the parotid may be an important source of extrapancreatic insulin. Moreover, these findings indicate that Insulin-immunoreactive cells of this salivary gland are spared from the cytotoxic action Of STZ.

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