Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 1355–1366 | Cite as

Characterisation of cholinesterases in mucous secretions and their localisation in epidermis of Labeo rohita and Cirrhinus mrigala

  • Ashwini Kumar Nigam
  • Neeraj Verma
  • Ayan Srivastava
  • Usha Kumari
  • Swati MittalEmail author
  • Ajay Kumar Mittal


Cholinesterases are multifunctional enzymes and have been associated with diverse physiological functions in addition to their classical role at synapses. In the present study, cholinesterase (ChE) isozymes have been characterised in mucous secretions and their activity has been localised in the epidermis of Labeo rohita and Cirrhinus mrigala. Zymography using specific substrates and inhibitors revealed the presence of two ChE isozymes—ChE-1 and ChE-2. The isozyme ChE-1 was characterised as an atypical butyrylcholinesterase and ChE-2 as a typical acetylcholinesterase in skin mucous secretions of both the fish species. Enzyme histochemical analysis demonstrated the presence of ChE activity in the epidermis of the fish species investigated. In both the fish species, strong ChE activity was observed in the outer-layer epithelial cells, taste buds and neuromasts. The middle and basal layer epithelial cells showed moderate to weak ChE activity. Club cells and mucous goblet cells showed the absence of ChE activity. Characterisation with specific inhibitors indicates that acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was the major cholinesterase type expressed in the epidermis of the two fish species investigated. Immunohistochemical localisation of apoptotic and cell proliferation markers, in addition, revealed high expression of active caspase 3 in the outer-layer epithelial cells, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in the middle and basal layer epithelial cells. High ChE activity in caspase 3-positive cells in the outer layer of the epidermis and low in PCNA-positive cells in middle and basal layers could point towards the possible involvement of ChEs in cell death and their final extrusion from skin surface.


Fish Epidermis Mucus Epithelial cells, Cholinesterases Apoptosis 


Funding information

Mr. Ashwini Kumar Nigam was supported as Research Associate from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) [Scheme No. 9/13 (660)/2017-EMR-I], Government of India. Mr. Neeraj Verma was supported by CAS-JRF and CAS-SRF under scheme CAS-Merged R-A/c grant, Award No. 14740 (Banaras Hindu University). Mr. Ayan Srivastava was supported by Banaras Hindu University Fellowship (Scheme No. 5012) sponsored by the University Grants Commission, Government of India. We hereby declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of the country (India) in which they were performed.

Compliance with ethical standards

All experiments were conducted in accordance with the ethical guidelines related to treatment and maintenance of animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Skin Physiology Laboratory, Centre of Advanced StudyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Zoology Section, Mahila MahavidyalayaBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  3. 3.Former Head of Department of ZoologyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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