The dermal granular glands of the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, contain antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that are secreted following local nerve stimulation. These natural antibiotics are active against bacteria and fungi including Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungal pathogen that causes the skin disease chytridiomycosis. Granular gland secretion can be stimulated in the laboratory by norepinephrine injection. We found that two injections of 80nmol/g norepinephrine were necessary to fully deplete the AMP stores. One injection resulted in the secretion of most of the stored peptides. A second injection, 2 days later, released a small amount of additional AMPs that are not compositionally different from those released by the first injection. A third injection, 4 days after the first, did not result in further AMP release. Mass spectrometry and histology confirmed that glands are depleted after two injections. Periodic acid-Schiff staining indicated that mucus gland secretion was also induced by norepinephrine.
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