, Volume 258, Issue 3, pp 483-489

Development of Xenopus laevis skin glands producing 5-hydroxytryptamine and caerulein

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Summary

The granular glands in Xenopus laevis skin are known to contain large quantities of biogenic amines and bioactive peptides which closely resemble mammalian brain-gut peptides. We studied the development of glands producing 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and caerulein using immunohistochemistry, HPLC-fluorometric systems and RIA. The immunoreactivities of 5-HT and caerulein were first detected in the spherical gland rudiments in the stratum spongiosum at St. 58 (Nieuwkoop and Faber stage), or at the beginning of metamorphosis. Both immunoreactivities appeared in the same rudiment at the same time. Some of the gland rudiments have a small lumen filled with both immunoreactive materials at St. 58–59. During the rest of the metamorphic period, the glands grow in size, accumulating immunoreactive materials in the lumen. The concentrations of 5-HT and caerulein in the skin of tadpoles were below 1 ng per mg wet tissue at St. 58–59, increased as metamorphosis proceeded and reached 63 and 134 ng per mg wet tissue at St. 66, or at the end of metamorphosis, respectively. The amphibian granular glands where large quantities of biogenic amines and hormone-like peptides are rapidly synthesized may provide a useful model for the study of the development of amine- and peptide-producing cells including neurons and paraneurons.