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The influence of 17β-oestradiol on lymphopoiesis and immune system ontogenesis in juvenile sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax

AuthorsMoreira, Catarina; Paiola, Matthieu; Duflot, A.; Varó, Inmaculada CSIC ORCID; Sitjà-Bobadilla, Ariadna CSIC ORCID ; Knigge, Thomas; Pinto, Patrícia I. S.; Monsinjon, Tiphaine
Oestrogen receptor
T cell
Teleost fish
Issue DateMay-2021
CitationDevelopmental & Comparative Immunology 118: 104011 (2021)
AbstractThe female sex steroid 17β-oestradiol (E2) is involved in the regulation of numerous physiological functions, including the immune system development and performance. The role of oestrogens during ontogenesis is, however, not well studied. In rodents and fish, thymus maturation appears to be oestrogen-dependent. Nevertheless, little is known about the function of oestrogen in immune system development. To further the understanding of the role of oestrogens in fish immune system ontogenesis, fingerlings of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) were exposed for 30 days to 20 ng E2·L−1, at two ages tightly related to thymic maturation, i.e., 60 or 90 days post hatch (dph). The expression of nuclear and membrane oestrogen receptors was measured in the thymus and spleen, and the expression of several T cell-related gene markers was studied in both immune organs, as well as in the liver. Waterborne E2-exposure at 20.2 ± 2.1 (S.E.) ng·L−1 was confirmed by radioimmunoassay, leading to significantly higher E2-contents in the liver of exposed fish. The majority of gene markers presented age-dependent dynamics in at least one of the organs, confirming thymus maturation, but also suggesting a critical ontogenetic window for the implementation of liver resident γδ and αβ T cells. The oestrogen receptors, however, remained unchanged over the age and treatment comparisons with the exception of esr2b, which was modulated by E2 in the younger cohort and increased its expression with age in the thymus of the older cohort, as did the membrane oestrogen receptor gpera. These results confirm that oestrogen-signalling is involved in thymus maturation in European sea bass, as it is in mammals. This suggests that esr2b and gpera play key roles during thymus ontogenesis, particularly during medulla maturation. In contrast, the spleen expressed low or non-detectable levels of oestrogen receptors. The E2-exposure decreased the expression of tcrγ in the liver in the cohort exposed from 93 to 122 dph, but not the expression of any other immune-related gene analysed. These results indicate that the proliferation/migration of these innate-like T cell populations is oestrogen-sensitive. In regard to the apparent prominent role of oestrogen-signalling in the late thymus maturation stage, the thymic differentiation of the corresponding subpopulations of T cells might be regulated by oestrogen. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the dynamics of both nuclear and membrane oestrogen receptors in specific immune organs in a teleost fish at very early stages of immune system development as well as to examine thymic function in sea bass after an exposure to E2 during ontogenesis.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2021.104011
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