Distribution of angiotensin IV binding sites (AT4 receptor) in the human forebrain, midbrain and pons as visualised by in vitro receptor autoradiography

Siew Yeen Chai, Maria A. Bastias, Eleanor F. Clune, Duana J. Matsacos, Tomris Mustafa, Joohyung Lee, Sharon G. McDowall, Frederick A O Mendelsohn, Anthony L. Albiston, Georg Paxinos

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Angiotensin IV and other AT4 receptor agonists, improve memory retention and retrieval in the passive avoidance and swim maze learning paradigms. Angiotensin IV binding sites (also known as the AT4 receptors) are widely distributed in guinea pig and monkey (Macaca fascicularis) brains where high densities of the binding sites have been detected in the hippocampus, neocortex and motor nuclei. However, the distribution of the binding sites in the human brain is not known. We have recently localised the angiotensin IV binding sites (AT4 receptors) in post-mortem human brain using iodinated Nle-angiotensin IV, a higher affinity and more stable analogue of angiotensin IV. This radioligand bound with relatively high affinity and specificity to angiotensin IV binding sites. In competition studies on consecutive sections through the prefrontal cortex and claustrum, angiotensin IV, Nle-angiotensin IV and LVV-hemorphin 7 competed for the binding of 125I[Nle]-angiotensin IV with nanomolar affinities. Angiotensin II and the AT1 and AT2 receptor antagonists were ineffective in competing for the binding at concentrations of up to 10 μM. We found high densities of 125I[Nle]-angiotensin IV binding sites throughout the cerebral cortex including the insular, entorhinal, prefrontal and cingulate cortices. Very high densities of the binding sites were observed in the claustrum, choroid plexus, hippocampus and pontine nucleus. Some thalamic nuclei displayed high densities of binding including the anteroprincipal, ventroanterior, anteromedial, medial dorsal and ventrolateral nuclei. The caudate nucleus, putamen, many amygdaloid nuclei and the red nucleus all displayed moderate densities of binding with a higher level detected in the substantia nigra pars compacta. In the hypothalamus, high densities binding sites were found in the ventromedial nucleus with lower levels in the dorsomedial and paraventricular nuclei. The distribution of 125I[Nle]-angiotensin IV binding sites in the human brain is similar to that found in other species and supports multiple roles for the binding sites in the central nervous system, including facilitation of memory retention and retrieval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Localisation
  • Norleucine-angiotensin IV
  • Thalamus

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