Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 333, Issue 2, pp 253–262 | Cite as

Immunohistochemical characterization of chicken pituitary cells containing the vasotocin VT2 receptor

  • Alexander Jurkevich
  • Luc R. Berghman
  • Lawrence E. Cornett
  • Wayne J. Kuenzel
Regular Article


Research in mammals has demonstrated a variety of regulatory effects of vasopressin and oxytocin on endocrine functions of the anterior pituitary gland. Less evidence is available regarding the hypophysiotropic action of arginine vasotocin (AVT) comprising vasopressic and oxytocic activities in birds. Some hypophysiotropic effects of AVT may result from its interactions with brain circuits controlling pituitary functions, whereas others are caused by its direct affect on pituitary cells. Use of an antiserum to the vasotocin receptor VT2 (VT2R) has revealed numerous immunoreactive cells in the anterior pituitary gland of the chicken. The objective of the present study has been to identify endocrine phenotypes of chicken pituitary cells containing VT2R by means of immunohistochemical labeling. VT2R immunoreactivity has been found in all cells immunoreactive for adrenocorticotropin and α-melanotropin. Approximately 10% of labeled lactotropes are also immunoreactive for VT2R and lie around the anatomical boundary dividing the cephalic and caudal lobes. In both corticotropes/melanotropes and lactotropes, immunoreactive VT2R is present in a narrow layer outlining cell bodies. Immunoreactive VT2R is not found in gonadotropes, thyrotropes, or somatotropes. These results provide evidence for the important role of VT2Rs in mediating effects of AVT on endocrine secretion from corticotropes and, partially, from lactotropes.


Adrenocorticotropic hormone α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone Prolactin Immunohistochemistry Adenohypophysis Chicken 



The authors thank Dr. A. Iwasawa (Gifu University, Gifu, Japan) for his gift of the antibody to chicken TSH.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Jurkevich
    • 1
  • Luc R. Berghman
    • 2
  • Lawrence E. Cornett
    • 3
  • Wayne J. Kuenzel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Poultry ScienceUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Poultry Science and Veterinary PathobiologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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