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Organ-specific expression of IGF-I during early development of bony fish as revealed in the tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry: indication for the particular importance of local IGF-I

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The cellular sites of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) synthesis in the early developing tilapia (0-140 days post fertilization, DPF) were investigated. IGF-I mRNA and peptide appeared in liver as early as 4 DPF and in gastro-intestinal epithelial cells between 5-9 DPF. In exocrine pancreas, the expression of IGF-I started at 4 DPF and continued until 90 DPF. IGF-I production was detected in islets at 6 DPF in non-insulin cells and occurred throughout life. In renal tubules and ducts, IGF-I production started at 8 DPF. IGF-I production in chondrocytes had its onset at 4 DPF, was more pronounced in growing regions and was also found in adults. IGF-I mRNA and peptide appeared in the cytoplasm of skeletal muscle cells at 4 DPF. In gill chloride cells, IGF-I production started at 6 DPF. At 13 DPF, IGF-I was detected in cardiac myocytes. IGF-I-producing epidermal cells appeared at 5 DPF. In brain and ganglia, IGF-I was expressed in virtually all neurones from 6 to 29 DPF, their number decreasing with age. Neurosecretory IGF-I-immunoreactive axons were first seen in the neurohypophysis around 17 DPF. Endocrine cells of the adenohypophysis exhibited IGF-I mRNA at 28 DPF and IGF-I immunoreactivity at 40 DPF. Thus, IGF-I appeared early (4-5 DPF), first in liver, the main source of endocrine IGF-I, and then in organs involved in growth or metabolism. The expression of IGF-I was more pronounced during development than in juvenile and adult life. Local IGF-I therefore seems to have a high functional impact in early growth, metabolism and organogenesis.

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Correspondence to Manfred Reinecke.

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This study was supported by the SNF (NRP 50, project 4050-66580).

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Berishvili, G., Shved, N., Eppler, E. et al. Organ-specific expression of IGF-I during early development of bony fish as revealed in the tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry: indication for the particular importance of local IGF-I. Cell Tissue Res 325, 287–301 (2006).

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  • Liver
  • Gastro-intestinal tract
  • Pancreas
  • Kidney
  • Muscle
  • Brain
  • Pituitary
  • Gills
  • Heart
  • Epidermis
  • Tilapia