Serpinin in the Skin
The serpinins are relatively novel peptides generated by proteolytic processing of chromogranin A and they are comprised of free serpinin, serpinin-RRG and pGlu-serpinin. In this study, the presence and source of these peptides were studied in the skin. By Western blot analysis, a 40 kDa and a 50 kDa protein containing the sequence of serpinin were detected in the trigeminal ganglion and dorsal root ganglia in rats but none in the skin. RP-HPLC followed by EIA revealed that the three serpinins are present in similar, moderate amounts in rat dorsal root ganglia, whereas in the rat skin, free serpinin represents the predominant molecular form. There were abundant serpinin-positive cells in rat dorsal root ganglia and colocalization with substance P was evident. However, much more widespread distribution of the serpinins was found in dorsal root ganglia when compared with substance P. In the skin, serpinin immunoreactivity was found in sensory nerves and showed colocalization with substance P; as well, some was present in autonomic nerves. Thus, although not exclusively, there is evidence that serpinin is a constituent of the sensory innervation of the skin. The serpinins are biologically highly active and might therefore be of functional significance in the skin.