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J Comp Neurol 2003 Jan 27;4561:73-83. doi: 10.1002/cne.10513.
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Alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone in the brain, cranial placode derivatives, and retina of Xenopus laevis during development in relation to background adaptation.

Kramer BM , Claassen IE , Westphal NJ , Jansen M , Tuinhof R , Jenks BG , Roubos EW .

The amphibian Xenopus laevis can adapt the color of its skin to the light intensity of the background. A key peptide in this adaptation process is alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), which is derived from proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and released by the endocrine melanotrope cells in the pituitary pars intermedia. In this study, the presence of alpha-MSH in the brain, cranial placode derivatives, and retina of developing Xenopus laevis was investigated using immunocytochemistry, to test the hypothesis that POMC peptide-producing neurons and endocrine cells have a common embryonic origin and a common function, i.e., controlling each other's activities and/or being involved in the process of physiological adaptation. The presence of alpha-MSH-positive cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, ventral hypothalamic nucleus, epiphysis, and endocrine melanotrope and corticotrope cells, which are all involved in regulation of adaptation processes, has been detected from stage 37/38 onward. This is consistent with the presumed common origin of these cells, the anterior neural ridge (ANR) of the neural-plate-stage embryo. The olfactory epithelium and the otic and epibranchial ganglia also contain alpha-MSH, indicating that these placodal derivatives originate from a common placodal domain continuous with the ANR. Furthermore, we demonstrate the presence of alpha-MSH in a subpopulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which is possibly also derived from the ANR. Immunoreactivity for alpha-MSH in RGCs that are located in the dorsal part of the retina is dependent on the background light intensity, suggesting that these cells are involved in the regulation of background adaptation. Taken together, the results support the hypothesis that POMC peptide-producing cells have a common embryonic origin and are involved in adaptation processes.

PubMed ID: 12508315
Article link: J Comp Neurol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: pomc tbx2
Antibodies: Pomc Ab1

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