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Neuroscience. 2005;130(2):409-18.

Distribution of preprodynorphin mRNA and dynorphin-a immunoreactivity in the sheep preoptic area and hypothalamus.

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Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0521, USA.


Endogenous opioid peptides (EOP) are important modulators in a variety of neuroendocrine systems, including those mediating reproduction, energy balance, lactation, and stress. Recent work in the ewe has implicated the EOP, dynorphin (DYN), in the inhibitory effects of progesterone on pulsatile gonadotropin releasing hormone secretion. Although DYN is involved in a number of hypothalamic functions in the sheep, little is known regarding the localization of preprodynorphin (PPD) expression and its major product DYN A (1-17). In this study, we determined the distribution of PPD mRNA and DYN A-containing cell bodies in the brains of ovary-intact, luteal ewes. To detect PPD mRNA, an ovine PPD mRNA was subcloned by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction from sheep hypothalamus and used to create a (35)S-labeled riboprobe for in situ hybridization. Neurons that expressed PPD mRNA and DYN A immunoreactivity were widely distributed in the ovine preoptic area and hypothalamus. PPD mRNA-expressing cells were seen in the supraoptic nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, preoptic area, anterior hypothalamus area, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, ventromedial nucleus (VMN), dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, and the arcuate nucleus. All of these regions also contained DYN A-positive cell bodies except for the VMN, raising the possibility that PPD is preferentially processed into other peptide products in the VMN. In summary, based on the expression of both mRNA and peptide, DYN cells are located in a number of key hypothalamic regions involved in the neuroendocrine control of homeostasis in sheep.

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