Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) are natural byproducts of cellular metabolism. Although these molecules are deleterious at high concentrations, moderate levels of ROS/RNS are essential for normal cell function and take part in numerous cellular processes. The regulation of ROS/RNS is largely attended by peroxiredoxins (Prdxs) and their main reductants, thioredoxins (Trxs). Through their oxidoreductase activities, the members of the Trx/Prdx system can also affect certain cellular processes, notably many implicated in central nervous system (CNS) development. Although several studies have investigated the expression of Prdxs and Trxs in mouse, rat, and human adult CNS, few data are available concerning embryonic stages. In this work, we use immunofluorescence analyses to study the distribution of these enzymes during prenatal mouse spinal cord development. Our results highlight several patterns that contrast with available data for the adult. Indeed, Prdx1, Prdx4, and Prdx6, which are expressed in glial cells in the adult CNS, present clear neuronal localization in mouse spinal cord during embryonic development. Additionally, Prdx1, Prdx2, and to a lesser extent Prdx4, Prdx6, and Trx1 are localized mainly in the nucleus of neural cells. Finally, we identified a consistent, intense expression of all Prdxs and Trxs in groups of cells located in ventral regions of the spinal cord that express motor neuronal markers. These striking expression patterns suggest novel functions of these enzymes at these stages and offer clues to the role of the Trx/Prdx system during embryonic development of the spinal cord. J. Comp. Neurol. 523:2599–2617, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
In situ detection of specific antibodies was used to study the distribution of antioxidant enzymes, peroxiredoxins and thioredoxins, in the embryonic mouse spinal cord. The authors report several striking expression patterns, including strong expression of these enzymes in spinal cord motor neurons.