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J Neuroendocrinol. 2006 Jul;18(7):534-41.

Colocalisation of dynorphin a and neurokinin B immunoreactivity in the arcuate nucleus and median eminence of the sheep.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Dynorphin A (DYN)-containing cells play a key role in conveying the negative feedback influence of progesterone upon pulsatile gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion in the ewe. A very high percentage of DYN cells in the arcuate nucleus express the progesterone receptor; another population of arcuate nucleus cells that also express steroid receptors in the sheep are those that express the tachykinin peptide, neurokinin B (NKB). Both DYN and NKB fibres have been shown to form close contacts with ovine GnRH cells. Therefore, the present study tested the hypothesis that neurones expressing NKB and DYN represent the same neuronal population in the arcuate nucleus. Confocal microscopic analysis of brain sections processed for dual immunofluorescence revealed that a large majority of DYN neurones in the arcuate nucleus were also immunoreactive for NKB. Likewise, a similar majority of NKB neurones in the arcuate nucleus were immunoreactive for DYN. By contrast, DYN cells in the preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus did not colocalise with NKB, nor did DYN cells in the paraventricular or supraoptic nuclei. Fibres that stained positively for both DYN and NKB were seen in the arcuate nucleus, where they formed close appositions with DYN/NKB-positive neurones, and in the external zone of the median eminence. Taken together with previous findings, these data suggest that a subpopulation of arcuate nucleus neurones coexpressing DYN and NKB mediate the negative feedback influence of progesterone on pulsatile GnRH secretion in the ewe and may also be involved in other feedback actions of gonadal steroids.

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