Neural connectivity in the mediobasal hypothalamus of the sheep brain

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Abstract

The ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN) and the arcuate nucleus (ARC) are two centres regulating energy balance and food intake, but inter-connectivity of these nuclei is not well defined in non-rodent species. In this study, we performed retrograde tracing and immunohistochemistry in the ovine brain with ewes receiving FluoroGold(R) (FG) injections into either ARC or VMN for the mapping of retrogradely labelled cells. Strong reciprocal connections were found between the two regions. The distribution of the FG labelled neurons in other regions of the hypothalamus and brain stem was also mapped. Some of the cells projecting from ARC to VMN were immunopositive for neuropeptide Y, galanin, adrenocorticotropin (marker of pro-opiomelanocortin cells) or tyrosine hydroxylase (marker of dopaminergic cells). Melanin-concentrating hormone and orexin neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area were also found to provide input to the VMN and ARC. This observed interconnectivity between regions important for metabolic regulation and other neuroendocrine functions presumably allows coordinated functions. Input to both the ARC and VMN from other brain regions, such as brain stem cell groups, provides a further level of regulation. These data provide a substrate upon which further understanding of appetite regulation and neuroendocrine function can be derived in this species. Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91 - 112
Number of pages21
JournalNeuroendocrinology
Volume87
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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