The spleen has two main functions. The first is to provide a proper microenvironment to lymphoid and myeloid cells, whereas the second involves clearance of abnormal erythrocytes. Ad4BP/SF-1, a product of the mammalian FTZ-F1 gene (mFTZ-F1), was originally identified as a steroidogenic, tissue- specific transcription factor. Immunohistochemical examination of the mammalian spleens confirmed the expression of Ad4BP/SF-1 in endothelial cells of the splenic venous sinuses and pulp vein. In mFtz-F1 gene-disrupted (KO) mice, several structural abnormalities were detected in the spleen, including underdevelopment and nonuniform distribution of erythrocytes. Examination of the spleen of KO fetuses showed failure of development of certain tubular structures during embryogenesis. These structures are normally assembled by Ad4BP/SF-1 immunoreactive cells, and most likely form the vascular system during later stages of development. Other structural abnormalities in the spleen of the KO mice included defects in the tissue distribution of type-IV collagen, laminin, c-kit, and vimentin. These morphologic defects in the vascular system were associated with a decrease in the proportion of hematopoietic cells, although differentiation of these cells was not affected significantly. A high number of abnormal red blood cells containing Howell- Jolly bodies were noted in the KO mice, indicating impaired clearance by the splenic vascular system. We also detected the presence of an mRNA-encoding cholesterol side-chain cleavage P450 in the spleen, resembling the findings in steroidogenic tissues such as the gonads and adrenal cortex. The mRNA transcript was not involved in splenic structural defects as it was detected in the spleens of both normal and KO mice, indicating that the regulatory mechanism of the P450 gene in the spleen is different from that in steroidogenic tissues. Our results indicate that a lack of the mFtz-F1 gene in mice is associated with structural and functional abnormalities of the splenic vascular system.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1999 Mar 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology