Orexin-A is a neuropeptide present in the brain and is known to regulate feeding and sleeping. In this study, we examined the systemic distribution of orexin-A in human tissues. Immunoreactivity for orexin-A was detected in ganglion cells of the thoracic sympathetic trunk, myenteric plexuses and endocrine cells of the gastrointestinal tract, islet cells of the pancreas and syncytiotrophoblasts and decidual cells of the placenta. In the gastrointestinal tract, orexin-A immunoreactivity was detected in the myenteric plexuses from 26 gestational weeks to birth. In double immunostaining in the pancreas, a great majority of insulin-positive cells was simultaneously positive for orexin-A. mRNA expression for prepro-orexin was also detected in the kidney, adrenal gland, pancreas, placenta, stomach, ileum, colon and colorectal epithelial cells. These results suggest the production of orexin-A in various human peripheral tissues and orexin-A may also play important roles in some peripheral organs.
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