Immunoreactive adrenocorticotrophin is present in the ovary and in particular the oocyte of several mammalian species
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Proopiomelanocorticotrophin (POMC)-derived peptides have been identified in both male and female reproductive systems. However, there have been few reports of ACTH, the major biologically active POMC product, in the mammalian ovary. We sought evidence for the presence and localization of immunoreactive (ir)-ACTH in ovaries from sheep, humans, cows, pigs, rats and cats using immunohistochemical techniques. Tissue sections were stained with diaminobenzidine following incubation with a primary antibody raised against ACTH1-24. There was positive staining for ACTH in cells scattered throughout the interstitium of ovaries from all species examined. Immunoreactive ACTH was observed in the oocytes of ovaries from humans, cows, pigs, pregnant and non-pregnant sheep, but not from cats or rats. Positive staining of oocytes was associated with all tertiary and secondary follicles, and some primary follicles. There was no apparent difference in the pattern of staining between pregnant and non-pregnant sheep. Staining for ir-ACTH was absent in ovaries from fetal sheep. We conclude that ir-ACTH is present in ovarian tissue, and in particular the oocyte, from several species of mammal. The presence of ir-ACTH within the oocyte is dependent on species and stage of follicular maturation.
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