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Matrix Biol. 1995 Dec;14(9):765-71.

Involvement of osteopontin in egg shell formation in the laying chicken.

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Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel.


Expression of the osteopontin (OPN) gene in the oviduct of the laying hen was studied. It was detected only in the egg shell gland (ESG), where massive calcification occurs. No OPN gene expression was detected in any other part of the oviduct, such as the magnum and isthmus. The OPN gene was expressed in a circadian fashion during the daily egg cycle only during the period of egg shell calcification. No OPN gene expression was detected in the ESG of a pre-laying hen before the onset of reproduction, or after forced removal of the egg close to its entrance into the ESG. OPN was found to be synthesized by the epithelial cells of the ESG lining the lumen. Upon synthesis, OPN is immediately secreted out of cells and accumulates in the egg shell. These findings demonstrate for the first time temporal and spatial association of OPN with egg shell calcification. OPN, which was found to be part of the organic matrix of the egg shell, may play an important role in egg shell calcification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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