Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 319–330 | Cite as

The expression of fetuin in the development and maturation of the hemopoietic and immune systems

  • K. M. Dziegielewska
  • W. M. Brown
  • A. Deal
  • K. A. Foster
Original Paper


The distribution and expression of fetuin, a fetal plasma protein that has been shown to have a wide-spread intracellular presence in many developing tissues including the central nervous system, has been studied in the developing immune and hemopoietic organs of fetal and adult sheep. The presence of fetuin was demonstrated using immuno-cytochemistry and expression of fetuin was studied using northern blot analysis andin situ hybridization. In the developing sheep fetus, fetuin was shown to be expressed first in the hemopoietic cells of the fetal liver and subsequently in the forming spleen. The very first stromal, bone marrow-forming cells, also expressed fetuin mRNA. These cells became more numerous during gestation and by embryonic day (E) 115 (term is 150 days), fetuin-expressing cells were identified morphologically to be monocytes/macrophages. Fetuin protein, on the other hand, was present in all hemopoietic and immune organs from the earliest age studied (E30) but was confined initially to matrix, mesenchymal tissue. Fetuin-positive cells could be identified in the spleen at E60 as early hemopoietic cells, in the lymph nodes at E60 as stromal cells and macrophages, and at E115 in the thymus as macrophages and squamous cells. In the adult, fetuin mRNA was only detectable by northern blot in the liver and the bone marrow. Usingin situ hybridization in adult tissue, fetuin mRNA-positive cells were identified in the bone marrow to be monocytes/macrophages. Additionally, in the spleen germinal centres, fetuin mRNA was identified in cells with the morphology of dendritic cells. Using three separate cellular markers: lysozyme, S-100, and α1-antitrypsin, the cellular identification of fetuin-positive cells was confirmed to be in the monocyte/macrophage lineage.


Northern Blot Analysis Germinal Centre Hemopoietic Cell Adult Bone Marrow Adult Sheep 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Dziegielewska
    • 1
  • W. M. Brown
    • 1
  • A. Deal
    • 1
  • K. A. Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and PhysiologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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