Seasonal expressions of prolactin, prolactin receptor and STAT5 in the scented glands of the male muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus)

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Wenqian Xie
Hong Liu
Qian Liu
Qiong Gao
Fuli Gao
Yingying Han
Zhengrong Yuan
Haolin Zhang
Qiang Weng *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Qiang Weng | qiangweng@bjfu.edu.cn

Abstract

Prolactin (PRL) production in mammals has been demonstrated in extrapituitary gland, which can activate autocrine/paracrine signaling pathways to regulate physiological activity. In the current study, we characterized the gene expression profiles of PRL, prolactin receptor (PRLR) and signal transducers and activators of transcription 5 (STAT5) in the scented glandular tissues of the muskrats, to further elucidate the relationship between PRL and the scented glandular functions of the muskrats. The weight and volume of the scented glands in the breeding season were significantly higher than those of the non-breeding season. Immunohistochemical data showed that PRL, PRLR and STAT5/phospho-STAT5 (pSTAT5) were found in the glandular and epithelial cells of the scented glands in both seasons. Furthermore, we found that PRL, PRLR and STAT5 had higher immunoreactivities in the scented glands during the breeding season when compared to those of the non-breeding season. In parallel, the gene expressions of PRL, PRLR and STAT5 were significantly higher in the scented glands during the breeding season than those of the non-breeding season. The concentrations of PRL in scented glandular tissues and sera were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and their levels were both notably higher in the breeding season than those of the non-breeding season. These findings suggested that the scented glands of the muskrats were capable of extrapituitary synthesis of PRL, which might attribute PRL a specific function to an endocrine or autocrine/paracrine mediator.


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