Urocortin (UCN), a 40 amino acid peptide, is a corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH)-related peptide. The biological actions of CRH family peptides are mediated via two types of G-protein-coupled receptors, CRH type 1 (CRHR1) and CRH type 2 (CRHR2). The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 by immunoprecipitation, Western blot, immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR in the bovine thyroid gland. Immunoprecipitation and Western blot analysis showed that tissue extracts reacted with the anti-UCN, anti-CRHR1 and anti-CRHR2 antibodies. RT-PCR experiments demonstrated that mRNAs of UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 were expressed. UCN immunoreactivity (IR) and CRHR2-IR were found in the thyroid follicular and parafollicular cells and CRHR1-IR in the smooth muscle of the blood vessels. These results suggest that a regulatory system exists in the bovine thyroid gland based on UCN, CRHR1 and CRHR2 and that UCN plays a role in the regulation of thyroid physiological functions through an autocrine/paracrine mechanism.
© 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.