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Colocalization of connexin 36 and corticotropin-releasing hormone in the mouse brain.

Journal article
Authors Lars Westberg
Evelyn Sawa
Alice Y Wang
Lisa A Gunaydin
Ana C Ribeiro
Donald W Pfaff
Published in BMC neuroscience
Volume 10
Issue 41
ISSN 14712202
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-10-41
Keywords Animals, Brain Stem, cytology, metabolism, Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial, Connexins, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone, Female, Fluorescent Dyes, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Male, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Neurons, cytology, Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus, cytology, Tissue Distribution
Subject categories Physiology

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Gap junction proteins, connexins, are expressed in most endocrine and exocrine glands in the body and are at least in some glands crucial for the hormonal secretion. To what extent connexins are expressed in neurons releasing hormones or neuropeptides from or within the central nervous system is, however, unknown. Previous studies provide indirect evidence for gap junction coupling between subsets of neuropeptide-containing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. Here we employ double labeling and retrograde tracing methods to investigate to what extent neuroendocrine and neuropeptide-containing neurons of the hypothalamus and brainstem express the neuronal gap junction protein connexin 36. RESULTS: Western blot analysis showed that connexin 36 is expressed in the PVN. In bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mice, which specifically express the reporter gene Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP) under the control of the connexin 36 gene promoter, EGFP expression was detected in magnocellular (neuroendocrine) and in parvocellular neurons of the PVN. Although no EGFP/connexin36 expression was seen in neurons containing oxytocin or vasopressin, EGFP/connexin36 was found in subsets of PVN neurons containing corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), and in somatostatin neurons located along the third ventricle. Moreover, CRH neurons in brainstem areas, including the lateral parabrachial nucleus, also expressed EGFP/connexin 36. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that connexin 36 is expressed in subsets of neuroendocrine and CRH neurons in specific nuclei of the hypothalamus and brainstem.

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