Immunohistochemical expression of E–cadherin in different tissues of the teleost fish Scophthalmus maximus.
E–cadherin is an evolutionary conserved protein, whose main role as the principal component of adherens junctions is supporting epithelial cell–cell adhesion. It is an essential molecule for the maintenance of the epithelial barrier function and the analysis of its immunohistochemical expression is a valuable resource in morphopathological, ontogenetic and pathogenesis studies in mammals. As well, there is an increasing understanding of the importance of E-cadherin in the physiology of the immune system and the development of the immune response. Mucosal health is a primary issue in aquaculture research; nevertheless, there is a lack of immunohistochemical studies of cell junction proteins in fish species. In this work, an immunohistochemical technique was optimized in Bouin- and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues of turbot Scophthalmus maximus, employing a commercial antibody raised against human E-cadherin. The specificity of the antibody in recognizing the molecule in this teleost species was tested by western blot and mass spectrometry-based proteomic analyses. The assays showed a good specificity and indicated that the antibody recognizes the well conserved cytoplasmic domain of the protein. Immunohistochemistry showed the localisation of E-cadherin at cell-cell contact in the epithelia of the different organs, between the hepatocytes and the pancreatic acinar cells, as well as in the reticulo-epithelial stroma of the thymus. Also, the immunoreaction was observed in the cells constituting the melano-macrophage centres in the spleen and kidney. No immunostaining was detected, as expected, only in the heart and brain. No significant difference was noticed between the two fixative used for collecting the tissues samples. This is the first description of E-cadherin immunohistochemical expression in several tissues of a teleost. The immunohistochemical technique represents a useful tool to be used in the different areas of fish health research.