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J Comp Neurol. 1988 Aug 1;274(1):60-76.

Anatomical specificity of noradrenergic inputs to the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the rat hypothalamus.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


The distribution of neural inputs to the paraventricular (PVH) and supraoptic (SO) nuclei from the regions of the A1, the A2, and the A6 (locus coeruleus) noradrenergic cell groups was investigated by using a plant lectin, Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L), as an anterogradely transported tracer. An immunofluorescence double-labeling procedure was used to determine the extent to which individual anterogradely labeled fibers and terminals in the PVH and the SO also displayed immunoreactive dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), a marker for catecholaminergic neurons. The results may be summarized as follows: (1) Projections from the A1 region were found primarily, and in some experiments almost exclusively, in those parts of the magnocellular division of the PVH and the SO known to contain vasopressinergic neurons. (2) Projections from the A2 region were distributed primarily throughout the parvicellular division of the PVH and were most dense in the dorsal medial part, a region known to contain a prominent population of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-immunoreactive neurons. In addition, a less-dense projection to the magnocellular division of the PVH and to the SO was consistently found. (3) Fibers originating from the locus coeruleus were distributed almost exclusively to the parvicellular division of the PVH, with the most prominent input localized to the periventricular zone, a part of the PVH known to contain dopamine-, somatostatin-, and thyrotropin-releasing-hormone-containing neurons. We found no evidence for a projection from A6 to the SO. (4) The majority of fibers originating from the A1, the A2 or the A6 regions contained DBH immunoreactivity, although an appreciable number did not. These results suggest that each of the three brainstem noradrenergic cell groups that contribute to the innervation of the PVH and/or the SO is in a position to modulate the activity of anatomically and chemically distinct groups of neurosecretory neurons.

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