The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Nils Wierup

Nils Wierup

Senior lecturer

Nils Wierup

Characterisation of CART-containing neurons and cells in the porcine pancreas, gastro-intestinal tract, adrenal and thyroid glands.


  • Nils Wierup
  • Anna Gunnarsdottir
  • Eva Ekblad
  • Frank Sundler

Summary, in English

Background: The peptide CART is widely expressed in central and peripheral neurons, as well as

in endocrine cells. Known peripheral sites of expression include the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the

pancreas, and the adrenal glands. In rodent pancreas CART is expressed both in islet endocrine

cells and in nerve fibers, some of which innervate the islets. Recent data show that CART is a

regulator of islet hormone secretion, and that CART null mutant mice have islet dysfunction. CART

also effects GI motility, mainly via central routes. In addition, CART participates in the regulation

of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis. We investigated CART expression in porcine pancreas,

GI-tract, adrenal glands, and thyroid gland using immunocytochemistry.

Results: CART immunoreactive (IR) nerve cell bodies and fibers were numerous in pancreatic and

enteric ganglia. The majority of these were also VIP IR. The finding of intrinsic CART containing

neurons indicates that pancreatic and GI CART IR nerve fibers have an intrinsic origin. No CART

IR endocrine cells were detected in the pancreas or in the GI tract. The adrenal medulla harboured

numerous CART IR endocrine cells, most of which were adrenaline producing. In addition CART

IR fibers were frequently seen in the adrenal cortex and capsule. The capsule also contained CART

IR nerve cell bodies. The majority of the adrenal CART IR neuronal elements were also VIP IR.

CART IR was also seen in a substantial proportion of the C-cells in the thyroid gland. The majority

of these cells were also somatostatin IR, and/or 5-HT IR, and/or VIP IR.

Conclusion: CART is a major neuropeptide in intrinsic neurons of the porcine GI-tract and

pancreas, a major constituent of adrenaline producing adrenomedullary cells, and a novel peptide

of the thyroid C-cells. CART is suggested to be a regulatory peptide in the porcine pancreas, GItract,

adrenal gland and thyroid.


  • Neuroendocrine Cell Biology
  • Neurogastroenterology

Publishing year





BMC Neuroscience





Document type

Journal article


BioMed Central (BMC)


  • Neurosciences



Research group

  • Neuroendocrine Cell Biology
  • Neurogastroenterology


  • ISSN: 1471-2202