Stichopin-containing nerves and secretory cells specific to connective tissues of the sea cucumber

Masaki Tamori, Apurba Kumar Saha, Akira Matsuno, Sukumar Chandra Noskor, Osamu Koizumi, Yoshitaka Kobayakawa, Yoko Nakajima, Tatsuo Motokawa

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Stichopin, a 17-amino acid peptide isolated from a sea cucumber, affects the stiffness change of the body-wall catch connective tissues and the contraction of the body-wall muscles. The localization of stichopin in sea cucumbers was studied by indirect immunohistochemistry using antiserum against stichopin. Double staining was performed with both stichopin antiserum and 1E11, the monoclonal antibody specific to echinoderm nerves. A stichopin-like immunoreactivity (stichopin-LI) was exclusively found in the connective tissues of various organs. Many fibres and cells with processes were stained by both the anti-stichopin antibody and 1E11. They were found in the body-wall dermis and the connective tissue layer of the cloacae and were suggested to be connective tissue-specific nerves. Oval cells with stichopin-LI (OCS) without processes were found in the body-wall dermis, the connective tissue sheath of the longitudinal body-wall muscles, the connective tissue layer of the tube feet and tentacles, and the connective tissue in the radial nerves separating the ectoneural part from the hyponeural part. Electron microscopic observations of the OCSs in the radial nerves showed that they were secretory cells. The OCSs were located either near the well-defined neural structures or near the water-filled cavities, such as the epineural sinus and the canals of the tube feet. The location near the water-filled cavities might suggest that stichopin was secreted into these cavities to function as a hormone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2279-2285
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1623
Publication statusPublished - Sep 22 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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