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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9;96(23):13506-11.

Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript in the rat vagus nerve: A putative mediator of cholecystokinin-induced satiety.

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Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is widely expressed in the central nervous system. Recent studies have pointed to a role for CART-derived peptides in inhibiting feeding behavior. Although these actions have generally been attributed to hypothalamic CART, it remains to be determined whether additional CART pathways exist that link signals from the gastrointestinal tract to the central control of food intake. In the present study, we have investigated the presence of CART in the rat vagus nerve and nodose ganglion. In the viscerosensory nodose ganglion, half of the neuron profiles expressed CART and its predicted peptide, as determined by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. CART expression was markedly attenuated after vagotomy, but no modulation was observed after food restriction or high-fat regimes. A large proportion of CART-labeled neuron profiles also expressed cholecystokinin A receptor mRNA. CART-peptide-like immunoreactivity was transported in the vagus nerve and found in a dense fiber plexus in the nucleus tractus solitarii. Studies on CART in the spinal somatosensory system revealed strong immunostaining of the dorsal horn but only a small number of stained cell bodies in dorsal root ganglia. The present results suggest that CART-derived peptides are present in vagal afferent neurons sensitive to cholecystokinin, suggesting that the role of these peptides in feeding may be explained partly by mediating postprandial satiety effects of cholecystokinin.

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