Some evidence suggests that oxytocin, which is a neuropeptide conventionally thought to be synthesized in the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary, is generated in peripheral keratinocytes, but the details are lacking and the mRNA analysis is further required. Oxytocin and neurophysin I are generated together as cleavage products after splitting the precursor molecule, preprooxyphysin. To confirm that oxytocin and neurophysin I are also generated in the peripheral keratinocytes, it must first be clarified that these molecules contained in peripheral keratinocytes did not originate in the posterior pituitary gland and then the expression of oxytocin and neurophysin I mRNAs must be established in keratinocytes. Therefore, we attempted to quantify preprooxyphysin mRNA in keratinocytes using various primers. Using real-time PCR, we observed that the mRNAs of both oxytocin and neurophysin I were located in keratinocytes. However, the mRNA amounts of oxytocin, neurophysin I, and preprooxyphysin were too small to confirm their co-existence in keratinocytes. Thus, we had to further determine whether the PCR-amplified sequence was identical to preprooxyphysin. The PCR products analyzed by DNA sequencing were identical to preprooxyphysin, finally determining the co-existence of both oxytocin and neurophysin I mRNAs in keratinocytes. In addition, the immunocytochemical experiments showed that oxytocin and neurophysin I proteins were located in keratinocytes. These results of the present study provided further support indicating that oxytocin and neurophysin I are generated in peripheral keratinocytes.
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