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Keywords:

  • birds;
  • catecholamines;
  • chromagranin-A;
  • neuroendocrine cell;
  • serotonin;
  • synaptophysin

Abstract

Neuroendocrine cells are present in virtually all organs of the vertebrate body; however, it is yet uncertain whether they exist in the ovaries. Previous reports of ovarian neurons and neuron-like cells in mammals and birds might have resulted from misidentification. The aim of the present work was to determine the identity of neuron-like cells in immature ovaries of the domestic fowl. Cells immunoreactive to neurofilaments, synaptophysin, and chromogranin-A, with small, dense-core secretory granules, were consistently observed throughout the sub-cortical ovarian medulla and cortical interfollicular stroma. These cells also displayed immunoreactivity for tyrosine, tryptophan and dopamine β-hydroxylases, as well as to aromatic L-DOPA decarboxylase, implying their ability to synthesize both catecholamines and indolamines. Our results support the argument that the ovarian cells previously reported as neuron-like in birds, are neuroendocrine cells.