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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 932;

Immune-Specific Expression and Estrogenic Regulation of the Four Estrogen Receptor Isoforms in Female Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 122, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Pathways of Estrogen Receptor Action)
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Genomic actions of estrogens in vertebrates are exerted via two intracellular estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes, ERα and ERβ, which show cell- and tissue-specific expression profiles. Mammalian immune cells express ERs and are responsive to estrogens. More recently, evidence became available that ERs are also present in the immune organs and cells of teleost fish, suggesting that the immunomodulatory function of estrogens has been conserved throughout vertebrate evolution. For a better understanding of the sensitivity and the responsiveness of the fish immune system to estrogens, more insight is needed on the abundance of ERs in the fish immune system, the cellular ratios of the ER subtypes, and their autoregulation by estrogens. Consequently, the aims of the present study were (i) to determine the absolute mRNA copy numbers of the four ER isoforms in the immune organs and cells of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, and to compare them to the hepatic ER numbers; (ii) to analyse the ER mRNA isoform ratios in the immune system; and, (iii) finally, to examine the alterations of immune ER mRNA expression levels in sexually immature trout exposed to 17β-estradiol (E2), as well as the alterations of immune ER mRNA expression levels in sexually mature trout during the reproductive cycle. All four ER isoforms were present in immune organs—head kidney, spleen-and immune cells from head kidney and blood of rainbow trout, but their mRNA levels were substantially lower than in the liver. The ER isoform ratios were tissue- and cell-specific, both within the immune system, but also between the immune system and the liver. Short-term administration of E2 to juvenile female trout altered the ER mRNA levels in the liver, but the ERs of the immune organs and cells were not responsive. Changes of ER gene transcript numbers in immune organs and cells occurred during the reproductive cycle of mature female trout, but the changes in the immune ER profiles differed from those in the liver and gonads. The correlation between ER gene transcript numbers and serum E2 concentrations was only moderate to low. In conclusion, the low mRNA numbers of nuclear ER in the trout immune system, together with their limited estrogen-responsiveness, suggest that the known estrogen actions on trout immunity may be not primarily mediated through genomic actions, but may involve other mechanisms, such as non-genomic pathways or indirect effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: estrogen receptor; isoforms; rainbow trout; immune system; reproductive cycle estrogen receptor; isoforms; rainbow trout; immune system; reproductive cycle

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Casanova-Nakayama, A.; Wernicke von Siebenthal, E.; Kropf, C.; Oldenberg, E.; Segner, H. Immune-Specific Expression and Estrogenic Regulation of the Four Estrogen Receptor Isoforms in Female Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 932.

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