International Immunopharmacology, November 2015, Vol.29(1), pp.51-56
We previously identified a population of cholinergic epithelial cells in murine, human and rat urethrae that exhibits a structural marker of brush cells (villin) and expresses components of the canonical taste transduction signaling cascade (α-gustducin, phospholipase Cβ2 (PLCβ2), transient receptor potential cation channel melanostatin 5 (TRPM5)). These cells serve as sentinels, monitoring the chemical composition of the luminal content for potentially hazardous compounds such as bacteria, and initiate protective reflexes counteracting further ingression. In order to elucidate cross-species conservation of the urethral chemosensory pathway we investigated the occurrence and molecular make-up of urethral brush cells in placental mammals. We screened 11 additional species, at least one in each of the five mammalian taxonomic units primates, carnivora, perissodactyla, artiodactyla and rodentia, for immunohistochemical labeling of the acetylcholine synthesizing enzyme, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), villin, and taste cascade components (α-gustducin, PLCβ2, TRPM5). Corresponding to findings in previously investigated species, urethral epithelial cells with brush cell shape were immunolabeled in all 11 mammals. In 8 species, immunoreactivities against all marker proteins and ChAT were observed, and double-labeling immunofluorescence confirmed the cholinergic nature of villin-positive and chemosensory (TRPM5-positive) cells. In cat and horse, these cells were not labeled by the ChAT antiserum used in this study, and unspecific reactions of the secondary antiserum precluded conclusions about ChAT-expression in the bovine epithelium. These data indicate that urethral brush cells are widespread throughout the mammalian kingdom and evolved not later than about 64.5 million years ago.
Chemosensory ; Acetylcholine ; Urethra ; Placental Mammals ; Biology ; Pharmacy, Therapeutics, & Pharmacology
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