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TitleNeurotransmitter diversity in pre-synaptic terminals located in the parvicellular neuroendocrine paraventricular nucleus of the rat and mouse hypothalamus.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsJohnson, Caroline S., Jaideep S. Bains, and Alan G. Watts
JournalJ Comp Neurol
Date Published2018 Jun 01

Virtually all rodent neuroendocrine corticotropin-releasing-hormone (CRH) neurons are in the dorsal medial parvicellular (mpd) part of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH). They form the final common pathway for adrenocortical stress responses. Their activity is controlled by sets of GABA-, glutamate-, and catecholamine-containing inputs arranged in an interactive pre-motor network. Defining the nature and arrangement of these inputs can help clarify how stressor type and intensity information is conveyed to neuroendocrine neurons. Here we use immunohistochemistry with high-resolution 3-dimensional image analyses to examine the arrangement of single- and co-occurring GABA, glutamate, and catecholamine markers in synaptophysin-defined pre-synaptic terminals in the PVHmpd of unstressed rats and Crh-IRES-Cre;Ai14 transgenic mice: respectively, vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGluT2), vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT), dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), and phenylethanolamine n-methyltransferase (PNMT). Just over half of all PVHmpd pre-synaptic terminals contain VGAT, with slightly less containing VGluT2. The vast majority of terminal appositions with mouse CRH neurons occur non-somatically. However, there are significantly more somatic VGAT than VGluT2 appositions. In the rat PVHmpd, about five times as many pre-synaptic terminals contain PNMT than DBH only. However, because epinephrine release has never been detected in the PVH, PNMT terminals may functionally be noradrenergic not adrenergic. PNMT and VGluT2 co-occur in some pre-synaptic terminals indicating the potential for co-transmission of glutamate and norepinephrine. Collectively, these results provide a structural basis for how GABA/glutamate/catecholamine interactions enable adrenocortical responses to fast-onset interosensory stimuli, and more broadly, how combinations of PVH neurotransmitters and neuromodulators interact dynamically to control adrenocortical activity.

Alternate JournalJ. Comp. Neurol.
PubMed ID29424419
PubMed Central IDPMC5869157
Grant ListR01 NS029728 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States