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Steffl, M.; Schweiger, M.; Wessler, I.; Kunz, Lars ORCID: 0000-0003-3141-0005; Mayerhofer, Artur; Amselgruber, W. M. (2006): Non-neuronal acetylcholine and choline acetyltransferase in oviductal epithelial cells of cyclic and pregnant pigs. In: Anatomy and Embryology, Vol. 211, No. 6: pp. 685-690
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Certain female reproductive tissues are known to express the non-neuronal cholinergic system. Using different experimental approaches, we tested the hypothesis that acetylcholine (ACh) in the porcine oviduct may also be derived from non-neuronal structures. Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect acetylcholine synthesizing enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) in different segments of the oviduct of cyclic and pregnant sows. Immunohistochemical experiments revealed strong immunoexpression of ChAT in the entire oviductal epithelium at metoestrus. Thereby, a particular pronounced staining was found in the supranuclear region of almost all epithelial cells. Immunostaining of ChAT decreased markedly during dioestrus and prooestrus stages, respectively. At prooestrus, ChAT immunoreactivity was confined to ciliated cells. Furthermore, we found elevated level of staining intensity of ChAT in the pregnant oviduct at day 13. Using the same ChAT antibody for Western blot analyses, we detected immunoreactive bands of MW 69,000 and 46,000 mainly in ampulla, while MW 58,000 and 30,000 forms were present mainly in infundibulum and isthmus. Furthermore ACh was detected by HPLC and fluorimetric methods in oviductal epithelium. In conclusion, we show expression of ChAT in oviductal epithelial cells at different stages of the oestrus cycle and pregnancy, indicating that these cells can synthesize ACh in a cycle-dependent manner. These results suggest as yet unexplored roles of epithelial ACh in the oviduct.