Immunohistochemistry of the canine vomeronasal organ

Authors



Dr E. E. Morrison, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849–5518, USA. E-mail: morriee@vetmed.auburn.edu

Abstract

The canine's olfactory acuity is legendary, but neither its main olfactory system nor its vomeronasal system has been described in much detail. We used immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded sections of male and female adult dog vomeronasal organ (VNO) to characterize the expression of proteins known to be expressed in the VNO of several other mammals. Basal cell bodies were more apparent in each section than in rodent VNO and expressed immunoreactivity to anticytokeratin and antiepidermal growth factor receptor antibodies. The thin layer of neurone cell bodies in the sensory epithelium and axon fascicles in the lamina propria expressed immunoreactivity to neurone cell adhesion molecule, neurone-specific beta tubulin and protein gene product 9.5. Some neurones expressed growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43): and a number of those also expressed neurone-specific beta tubulin-immunoreactivity. Some axon fascicles were double labelled for those two proteins. The G-protein alpha subunits Gi and Go, involved in the signal transduction pathway, showed immunoreactivity in the sensory cell layer. Our results demonstrate that the canine vomeronasal organ contains a population of cells that expresses several neuronal markers. Furthermore, GAP43 immunoreactivity suggests that the sensory epithelium is neurogenic in adult dogs.

Ancillary