Corticotropin-releasing hormone- and cortisol-like molecules are present in the haemocytes of different molluscan species and in the epithelial cells, interdigitating cells and macrophages - but not in the lymphocytes - of fish, frog, chicken and rat thymus. Taking into account the fact that other pro- opiomelanocortin-derived peptides, such as adrenocorticotropin hormone, are present in the haemocytes and thymus of the same species, these results complete the list of stress mediators present in molluscan haemocytes and further support the hypothesis that, although the prototype stress response we have demonstrated in invertebrates is concentrated in a single cell, i.e. the haemocyte, it is similar to the response seen in vertebrates. Moreover, the data presented here are compatible with the hypothesis that an evolutionary, conserved stress response can occur locally with a single organ, e.g. the thymus, in which all the main mediators of this biological response, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotropin hormone and glucocorticoids, are present. The implications of these findings for the physiology of thymus and stress response may be far reaching.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology