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Differential expression of neuropeptide F in the digestive organs of female freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, during the ovarian cycle.

Neuropeptide F is a key hormone that controls feeding in invertebrates, including decapod crustaceans. We investigated the differential expression of Macrobrachium rosenbergii neuropeptide F (MrNPF) in the digestive organs of female prawns, M. rosenbergii, during the ovarian cycle. By using RT-qPCR, the expression of MrNPF mRNA in the esophagus (ESO), cardia (CD), and pylorus (PY) of the foregut (FG) gradually increased from stage II and peaked at stage III. In the midgut (MG), hindgut (HG), and hepatopancreas (HP), MrNPF mRNA increased from stage I, reaching a maximal level at stage II, and declined by about half at stages III and IV (P < 0.05). In the ESO, CD, and PY, strong MrNPF-immunoreactivities were seen in the epithelium, muscle, and lamina propria. Intense MrNPF-ir was found in the MG cells and the muscular layer. In the HG, MrNPF-ir was detected in the epithelium of the villi and gland regions, while MrNPF-ir was also more intense in the F-, R-, and B-cells in the HP. However, we found little colocalization between the MrNPF and PGP9.5/ChAT in digestive tissues, implying that most of the positive cells might not be neurons but could be digestive tract-associated endocrine cells that produce and secrete MrNPF to control digestive organ functions in feeding and utilizing feed. Taken together, our first findings indicated that MrNPF was differentially expressed in digestive organs in correlation with the ovarian cycle, suggesting an important link between MrNPF, the physiology of various digestive organs in feeding, and possibly ovarian maturation in female M. rosenbergii.

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