Transient expression of the calcitonin receptor by enteric neurons of the embryonic and early post-natal mouse
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Calcitonin receptor-immunoreactivity (CTR-ir) was found in enteric neurons of the mouse gastrointestinal tract from embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5) to post-natal day 28 (P28). CTR-ir occurred in cell bodies in ganglia of the myenteric plexus extending from the esophagus to the colon and in nerve cells of the submucosal ganglia of the small and large intestines. CTR-ir was also found in vagal nerve trunks and mesenteric nerves. Counts in the ileal myenteric plexus revealed CTR-ir in 80% of neurons. CTR-ir was clearly evident in the cell bodies of enteric neurons by E15.5. The immunoreactivity reached maximum intensity between P1.5 and P12 but was weaker at P18 and barely detectable at P28. The receptor was detected in nerve processes in the intestine for only a brief period around E17.5, when it was present in one to two axonal processes per villus in the small intestine. In late gestation and soon after birth, CTR-ir was also evident in the mucosal epithelium. The perinatal expression of CTR within the ENS suggests that the calcitonin/CTR system may have a role in the maturation of enteric neurons. Signals may reach enteric neurons in milk, which contains high levels of calcitonin.
KeywordsCalcitonin receptor Gastrointestinal tract Fetal development Enteric nervous system
This work was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (grant number 566696).