Although chicken oviduct is a useful model and target tissue for reproductive biology and transgenesis, little is known because of the highly specific hormonal regulation and the lack of fundamental researches, including lectin-binding activities and glycobiology. Because lectin is attached to secreted glycoproteins, we hypothesized that lectin could be bound to secretory egg-white proteins, and played a crucial role in the generation of egg-white protein in the oviduct. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the structural, histological and lectin-binding characteristics of the chicken oviductal magnum from juvenile and adult hens.
The oviductal magnums from juvenile and adult hens were prepared for ultrastructural analysis, qRT-PCR and immunostaining. Immunohistochemistry of anti-ovalbumin, anti-ESR1 and anti-PGR, and mRNA expression of egg-white genes and steroid hormone receptor genes were evaluated. Lectin histochemical staining was also conducted in juvenile and adult oviductal magnum tissues.
The ultrastructural analysis showed that ciliated cells were rarely developed on luminal surface in juvenile magnum, but not tubular gland cells. In adult magnum, two types of epithelium and three types of tubular gland cells were observed. qRT-PCR analysis showed that egg-white genes were highly expressed in adult oviduct compared with the juvenile. However, mRNA expressions of ESR1 and PGR were considerably higher in juvenile oviduct than adult ( P < 0.05). The immunohistochemical analysis showed that anti-ovalbumin antibody was detected in adult oviduct not in juvenile, unlikely anti-ESR1 and anti-PGR antibodies that were stained in both oviducts. In histological analysis, Toluidine blue was stained in juvenile and adult oviductal epithelia, and adult tubular glands located in the outer layer of oviductal magnum. In contrast, PAS was positive only in adult oviductal tubular gland. Lectins were selectively bound to oviductal epithelium, stroma, and tubular gland cells. Particularly, lectin-ConA and WGA were bound to electron-dense secretory granules in tubular gland.
The observation of ultrastructural analysis, mRNA expression, immunohistochemistry and lectin staining showed structural and physiological characterization of juvenile and adult oviductal magnum. Consequently, oviduct study could be helped to in vitro culture of chicken oviductal cells, to develop epithelial or tubular gland cell-specific markers, and to understand female reproductive biology and endocrinology.