Three homologous genes that code for three related proteins comprise the serum amyloid A (SAA) family in the mouse. Endotoxin induces equally vigorous expression of mRNAs for the three SAA genes in liver. In extrahepatic tissues SAA1 and/or SAA2 mRNAs have been found only in kidney and intestine, however, SAA3 is expressed in all extrahepatic tissues thus far examined. This observation raised the question: is SAA3 mRNA expressed by a single cell system dispersed throughout all tissues, or by differentiated cells of each tissue? This question was explored in various tissues by in situ hybridization with a single-stranded cRNA probe specific for SAA3 mRNA. We found expression in the liver of SAA3 mRNA by other cells as well as by hepatocytes. A common feature among extrahepatic tissues was SAA3 mRNA expression in adipocytes. SAA3 mRNA was also found in two nonadipose cells, Leydig cells of the testis, and some of the cells located in parafollicular zones of the spleen.

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