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Nicotinic receptor Alpha7 expression during mouse adrenal gland development.

By Lorise C Gahring, Elizabeth Myers, Sierra Palumbos and Scott W Rogers


The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 7 (α7) is a ligand-activated ion channel that contributes to a diversity of cellular processes involved in development, neurotransmission and inflammation. In this report the expression of α7 was examined in the mouse developing and adult adrenal gland that expresses a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter as a bi-cistronic extension of the endogenous α7 transcript (α7(G)). At embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) α7(G) expression was associated with the suprarenal ganglion and precursor cells of the adrenal gland. The α7(G) cells are catecholaminergic chromaffin cells as reflected by their progressive increase in the co-expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH) that is complete by E18.5. In the adult, α7(G) expression is limited to a subset of chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla that cluster near the border with the adrenal cortex. These chromaffin cells co-express α7(G), TH and DBH, but they lack phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) consistent with only norepinephrine (NE) synthesis. These cell groups appear to be preferentially innervated by pre-ganglionic afferents identified by the neurotrophin receptor p75. No afferents identified by beta-III tubulin, neurofilament proteins or p75 co-expressed α7(G). Occasional α7(G) cells in the pre-E14.5 embryos express neuronal markers consistent with intrinsic ganglion cells and in the adult some α7(G) cells co-express glutamic acid decarboxylase. The transient expression of α7 during adrenal gland development and its prominent co-expression by a subset of NE chromaffin cells in the adult suggests that the α7 receptor contributes to multiple aspects of adrenal gland development and function that persist into adulthood

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103861
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