Urocortin-like immunoreactivity in the primary lymphoid organs of the duck (Anas platyrhynchos)
AbstractUrocortin (UCN) is a 40 aminoacid peptide which belongs to corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) family. This family of peptides stimulates the secretion of proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), b-endorphin and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) in the pituitary gland. In the present study, using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, the distribution of UCN in the primary lymphoid organs of the duck was investigated at different ages. In the cloacal burse and thymus, Western blot demonstrated the presence of a peptide having a molecular weight compatible with that of the mammalian UCN. In the cloacal burse, immunoreactivity was located in the medullary epithelial cells and in the follicular associated and cortico-medullary epithelium. In the thymus, immunoreactivity was located in single epithelial cells. Double labelling immunofluorescence studies showed that UCN immunoreactivity completely colocalised with cytokeratin immunoreactivity in both the thymus and cloacal burse. Statistically significant differences in the percentage of UCN immunoreactivity were observed between different age periods in the cloacal burse. The results suggest that, in birds, urocortin has an important role in regulating the function of the immune system.
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Copyright (c) 2009 A. De Luca, C. Squillacioti, M.E. Pero, S. Paino, E. Langella, N. Mirabella
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