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Mol Cell Neurosci. 1990 Aug;1(1):3-9.

Localization of histidine decarboxylase mRNA in rat brain.

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Department of Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


The recent cloning of a cDNA encoding fetal rat liver histidine decarboxylase (HDC), the synthesizing enzyme for histamine, allows the study of the central histaminergic system at the molecular level. To this end, Northern blot and in situ hybridization analyses were used to determine the regional and cellular distribution of neurons which express HDC mRNA in rat brain. Three hybridizing species which migrate as 1.6-, 2.6-, and 3.5-kb RNA were identified with Northern blots. The major (2.6 kb) and minor (3.5 kb) species, characteristic of HDC mRNA in fetal liver, were expressed at high levels in diencephalon and at just detectable levels in hippocampus, but not in other brain regions. In contrast, the 1.6-kb species was present in all brain regions examined except the olfactory bulb. Cells which contain HDC mRNA were found by in situ hybridization in the hypothalamus; HDC mRNA-containing cells were not detected in other areas, including the hippocampus. Hypothalamic neurons which express HDC mRNA were localized to all aspects of the tuberomammillary nucleus, a result consistent with previous immunohistochemical findings.


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