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Brain Res. 2013 Jun 26;1519:40-52. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.04.039. Epub 2013 Apr 27.

Retrograde study of CART- or NPY-neuronal projection from the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus to the dorsal raphe and/or the locus coeruleus in the rat.

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Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, 143-701 Seoul, Korea.


The present study was designed to reveal cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART)- or neuropeptide Y (NPY)-immunoreactive neuronal projections from the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (Arc) to the dorsal raphe (DR) and/or the locus coeruleus (LC) in the rat. Our results demonstrated that CART or NPY axon terminals formed close appositions to the neuronal profiles in the DR and the LC. Thus, arcuate sections were immunostained for the CART or NPY after the injections of green RetroBeads(™) into the DR and red tracer into the LC (or vice versa). First, retrogradely-labeled CART cells were mainly observed in the lateral Arc without colchicine. Of the total population of arcuate CART neurons, DR- and LC-projecting cells were 5.7% ± 0.9% and 6.6% ± 0.7%, respectively. In addition, a subset (3.3% ± 0.7%) of CART neurons provided divergent axon collaterals to the DR and the LC. Second, retrogradely-labeled NPY cells were observed in lateral or ventral borders of the medial Arc only after colchicine injection. Of the entire NPY cell population, DR- and LC-projecting neurons were 1.5% ± 0.3% and 1.3% ± 0.3%, respectively. Only a scanty proportion (0.1% ± 0.0%) sent axon collaterals to the DR and the LC. These observations suggested that arcuate CART or NPY system might have a potential influence on the brainstem monoaminergic nuclei, modulating their roles in feeding, nociception, emotional behaviors, arousal, and stress responses. Furthermore, a portion of arcuate CART neurons (along with only a few NPY cells) sending divergent axon collaterals to the DR/LC might have a simultaneous (and possibly more efficient) way to exert their specific influences on the monoaminergic nuclei.

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