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J Comp Neurol. 2001 Jan 8;429(2):242-52.

Immunohistochemical localization and biochemical characterization of hypocretin/orexin-related peptides in the central nervous system of the frog Rana ridibunda.

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European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP 23), Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, INSERM U 413, UA CNRS, University of Rouen, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France.


In the present study, we have investigated the distribution and biochemical characteristics of hypocretin (hcrt) -like immunoreactivity in the central nervous system (CNS) of the frog Rana ridibunda by using an antiserum directed against rat hcrt2. Immunoreactive cell bodies were only detected in four diencephalic nuclei, including the anterior preoptic area and the suprachiasmatic, magnocellular, and ventral hypothalamic nuclei. In contrast, hcrt2-immunoreactive fibers were widely distributed throughout the frog CNS. In particular, a high density of hcrt-positive fibers was detected in several areas of the telencephalon, including the olfactory bulb, the nucleus of the diagonal band of Broca, and the amygdala. A dense network of hcrt-containing fibers was observed in all thalamic and hypothalamic nuclei. A low to moderate density of immunoreactive fibers was also found in the mesencephalon, rhombencephalon, and spinal cord. Reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography analysis of frog brain extracts revealed that hcrt2-immunoreactive material eluted as two peaks, the major one exhibiting the same retention time as synthetic rat hcrt2. The present data provide the first detailed mapping of the hcrt neuronal system in the CNS of a nonmammalian vertebrate. The occurrence of hcrt-containing cell bodies in the hypothalamus and the widespread distribution of hcrt-immunoreactive fibers throughout the brain and spinal cord suggest that, in amphibians, hcrts may exert neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter, and/or neuromodulator activities.

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