Expression of corticotropin-releasing factor and urocortins in the normal and **Schistosoma mansoni**-infected mouse ileum
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Cell and tissue research. - Berlin
, p. 453-463
University of Antwerp
Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and urocortins (UCNs) are important ligands in the CRF signaling pathways, which are most known for their role in the hypothalamicpituitaryadrenal stress axis. However, peripheral CRF signaling also has profound effects on gastrointestinal functions. Although the murine animal model is highly relevant for the exploration of this complexly balanced pathway via genetic manipulation, little is known about the expression of CRF and UCNs in the mouse intestine. This study aims to investigate the cellular localization of CRF and UCNs in the ileum and to explore whether and how this cellular expression is altered in conditions of intestinal Schistosoma mansoni-induced inflammation. The results show a distinct expression pattern for the different CRF receptor ligands in the ileum. CRF was located in nerve fibers and stromal cells. All UCNs were expressed in polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Furthermore, UCN2 and UCN3 were found in the musculature. During acute schistosomiasis, UCN1 showed an increased immunoreactivity in blood vessels and UCN3 was de novo expressed mainly in submucous neurons. Typical features of S. mansoni-inflamed ileum, such as nerve fiber sprouting, muscle layer thickening and granuloma formation thus all have an impact on the CRF signaling pathways. In conclusion, we outline for the first time the expression of CRF signaling ligands in the mouse ileum; our results point to important changes of this signaling system in S. mansoni-induced intestinal inflammation, which warrants further functional investigation with specific focus on CRF2, given the exclusive binding of UCN2 and UCN3 to this receptor.