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Exp Neurol. 2003 Sep;183(1):116-23.

Directional cues for arcuate NPY projections are present in the adult brain.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, B3:4, Retzius väg 8, SE-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden. Serguei.Fetissov@neuro.ki.se


Arcuate nucleus neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons project within the hypothalamus and to several extrahypothalamic brain areas. Plasticity in the formation of arcuate NPY projections established postnatally may underlie the phenotypic characteristics of food intake and body weight. In this work we determined if directional cues for axonal outgrowth of NPY arcuate neurons exist in the adult brain. For this purpose, an embryonic (E15) arcuate nucleus of WT mice was grafted into the third ventricle of 2-week- and 2-month-old NPY knockout (KO) mice. One month after the transplantation, the distribution of NPY-positive terminals in the brains of NPY-KO mice was studied using immunohistochemistry. NPY-positive terminals were found inside of the grafted tissue as well as in the host hypothalamus, including the arcuate nucleus, the paraventricular and periventricular nuclei, the lateral hypothalamic and preoptic areas, and in extrahypothalamic areas such as the amygdala and the thalamic paraventricular nucleus. This pattern of distribution of NPY fibers was found in both groups of grafted mice. The brain areas reinnervated by NPY-positive terminals in the NPY-KO mice closely corresponded to the normal targets for the arcuate NPY neurons as revealed by the distribution of agouti gene-related protein immunoreactivity. Our data show that directional cues for NPY arcuate nucleus projections are present in the adult brain, suggesting their involvement in the formation of normal arcuate NPY connections and a possibility for their functional reconstruction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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