Distribution and developmental changes of ghrelin-immunopositive cells in the pancreas of African ostrich chicks (Struthio camelus)
Ghrelin, the endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), is produced by multiple cell types and affects feeding behavior, metabolic regulation, and energy balance. In the mammalian pancreas, the types of endocrine cells that are immunoreactive to ghrelin vary. However, little was known about its distribution and developmental changes in the pancreas of African ostrich chicks (Struthio camelus). In the present study, the distribution, morphological characteristics, and developmental changes of ghrelin-immunopositive (ghrelin-ip) cells in the pancreas of African ostrich chicks were investigated using immunohistochemistry. Ghrelin-ip cells were found in both the pancreatic islets and acinar cell regions. The greatest number of ghrelin-ip cells were found in the pancreatic islets, and were primarily observed at the periphery of the islets; some ghrelin-ip cells were also located in the central portion of the pancreatic islets. Interestingly, from postnatal d 1 to d 90, there was a steady decrease in the number of ghrelin-ip cells in the pancreatic islets and acinar cell regions. These results clearly demonstrated that ghrelin-ip cells exist and decreased with age in the African ostrich pancreas from postnatal d 1 to d90. Thus, these findings indicated that ghrelin may be involved in the development of the pancreas in the African ostrich.