E-cadherin, which expressed in various epithelial tissues, is important for the maintenance of normal epithelial phenotypes. However, the distribution of N-cadherin in normal human tissues has not been defined systemically. In the present study, we employed a sensitive, reliable immunohistochemical detection system for N-cadherin on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections, and succeeded in demonstrating N- and E-cadherin protein expressions and their distribution in normal human tissues. E-cadherin immunoreactivity was detected in all the epithelial tissues examined, except for the adrenal cortical cells and granulosa cells. N-cadherin was selectively expressed on epithelial cells of the thymus, pituitary, pancreas, liver, adrenal, endometrium of the uterus, ovary, and stomach as well as in neuronal tissues. Double immunostaining revealed that N-cadherin expression was closely associated with the hormone-producing ability of cells in the pancreas and pituitary. Thus, this study indicated the possibility that N-cadherin is selectively expressed in relation to hormonal regulation in some organs and plays different functions in different situations. The method presented here should prove useful for the further investigation of the N-cadherin expression and function in several disease conditions on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissues.
2006 by International Society of Histology and Cytology