, Volume 191, Issue 2, pp 139-143

Early expression of chromogranin A and tyrosine hydroxylase during prenatal development of the bovine adrenal gland

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Abstract

The present study was undertaken to define the temporal pattern and distribution of cells positive for chromogranin A (CgA) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in various developmental stages of fetal bovine adrenal gland. CgA is an acidic protein, co-stored and co-released with amines and a variety of peptide hormones and neurotransmitters in dense core vesicles of neural and endocrine cells and can be used as a marker for these cells and their malignant counterparts. TH is the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine biosynthesis and reflects noradrenergic differentiation. The expression of CgA and TH was examined by immunohistochemistry. CgA immunoreactivity appears first in 35-day-old bovine fetuses. By the end of the second month, CgA-labelled cells are scattered throughout the entire primordium of the adrenal gland, and at a fetal age of 85–91 days most of these cells concentrate in the developing adrenal medulla. From this stage onwards, immunoreactive cells of the marginal zone of the medulla exhibit significantly stronger CgA immunoreaction than the central area. TH immunoreactivity appeared in the adrenal primordium for the first time at the end of the second month of gestation. The distribution pattern of TH-positive cells was similar to that described for CgA, and no significant differences in topographical arrangement between TH- and CgA-positive cells can be detected. The results show that bovine adrenal chromaffin cells express CgA already during their earliest stages of development and prior to TH. The stronger immunoreaction of marginal adrenal medullary cells suggests an adrenalcortical effect of glucocorticoids on the expression of CgA.