Presence of immunoreactive pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides and cytokines in the thymus of an anuran amphibian (Rana esculenta)

A. Franchini, E. Ottaviani, C. Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptide [adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), β-endorphin, α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)]- and cytokine (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-α)-like molecules were demonstrated in PAS positive epithelial cells of the thymus of the anuran amphibian Rana esculenta by an immunocytochemical procedure. Three groups of PAS positive epithelial cells were identified in the subcapsular cortex, inner cortex and medulla, respectively. The cells containing ACTH-, α-MSH- and cytokine-like molecules were distributed in the cortex and those containing β-endorphin-like molecules in the medulla and inner cortex. Thymic lymphocytes were always negative for POMC-derived peptides and cytokines. These results suggest that the neuroendocrine function of the thymus can be traced back to lower vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995



  • cytokines
  • immunocytochemistry
  • pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides
  • Rana esculenta
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Insect Science

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