The vomeronasal system (VNS) is an accessory olfactory structure present in most mammals adhibited to the detection of specific chemosignals implied in social and reproductive behavior. The VNS comprises the vomeronasal organ (VNO), vomeronasal nerve and accessory olfactory bulb. VNO is characterized by a neuroepithelium constituted by bipolar neurons and supporting and stem/progenitor cells. In humans, VNO is present during fetal life and is supposed to possess chemoreceptor activity and participate in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal precursor migration toward the hypothalamus. Instead, the existence and functions of VNO in postnatal life is debated. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors (VEGFRs) have been demonstrated to play fundamental roles in various neurogenic events. However, there are no data regarding the localization and possible function of VEGF/VEGFRs in human fetal VNO. Therefore, this study was conceived to investigate the expression of VEGF/VEGFRs in human VNO in an early developmental period (9–12 weeks of gestation), when this organ appears well structured. Coronal sections of maxillofacial specimens were subjected to peroxidase-based immunohistochemistry for VEGF, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2. Double immunofluorescence for VEGF, VEGFR-1 or VEGFR-2 and the neuronal marker protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) was also performed. VEGF expression was evident in the entire VNO epithelium, with particularly strong reactivity in the middle layer. Strongly VEGF-immunostained cells with aspect similar to bipolar neurons and/or their presumable precursors were detected in the middle and basal layers. Cells detaching from the basal epithelial layer and detached cell groups in the surrounding lamina propria showed moderate/strong VEGF expression. The strongest VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 expression was detected in the apical epithelial layer. Cells with aspect similar to bipolar neurons and/or their presumable precursors located in the middle and basal layers and the detaching/detached cells displayed a VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 reactivity similar to that of VEGF. The basal epithelial layer exhibited stronger staining for VEGFRs than for VEGF. Cells with morphology and VEGF/VEGFR expression similar to those of the detaching/detached cells were also detected in the middle and basal VNO epithelial layers. Double immunofluorescence using anti-PGP 9.5 antibodies demonstrated that most of the VEGF/VEGFR-immunoreactive cells were neuronal cells. Collectively, our findings suggest that during early fetal development the VEGF/VEGFR system might be involved in the presumptive VNO chemoreceptor activity and neuronal precursor migration.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acthis.2018.11.001|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000461000600012|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-85056262478|
|Titolo:||Immunolocalization of VEGF/VEGFR system in human fetal vomeronasal organ during early development|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|