Estradiol-17beta-responsive A1 and A2 noradrenergic cells of the brain stem project to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the ewe brain: A possible route for regulation of gonadotropin releasing hormone cells

Alda Pereira, John Arthur Rawson, Alexandra E Jakubowska, Iain James Clarke

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We have studied brain stem cells in the ewe brain that project to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and determined if these cells are activated by estradiol-17beta. This would predicate an indirect role in the estradiol-17beta regulation of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) cells, since these receive input from the BNST. Ovariectomised ewes received 50mug estradiol-17beta benzoate (i.m.) 1h prior to brain collection, so that activated cells could be identified by Fos immunohistochemistry. Retrograde tracer (FluoroGold; FG), was injected into the 3 divisions of the BNST and labeled cells were mapped to the A1 and A2 regions and the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) of the brain stem. With FG injection into the dorsal and lateral BNST, all FG-containing cells in the caudal A1 and 45 of those in A2 stained for dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), indicating noradrenergic type. No FG-labelled cells in the PBN were DBH-positive. In A1 and A2 respectively, 42 and 46 of FG-labelled cells were Fos-positive, with no double-labeling in cells of the PBN. In ewes receiving FG injections into the ventral BNST, estrogen receptor (ER)alpha -immunoreactive nuclei were found in 82 of A1-FG labeled and 38 of A2-FG labeled cells. No FG-labelled cells of the PBN were ERalpha-positive. Anterograde tracing from A1 with microruby injection identified projections to the PBN, BNST and POA. Thus, A1 and A2 noradrenergic neurons project to the BNST in the ewe brain, express ERalpha and are activated by estradiol-17beta. These noradrenergic, estrogen-responsive cells may provide indirect input to GnRH cells, via the BNST.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758 - 773
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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