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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1989;553:76-105.

Distribution of TRH-like immunoreactivity with special reference to coexistence with other neuroactive compounds.

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Department of Histology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


During the last years, several important advancements have been made that are of importance for our understanding of the distribution and localization of neurons and cells producing TRH-LI. As detailed in other chapters in this volume, the precursor for TRH has been characterized that has allowed production of antibodies raised against specific sequences of this precursor. This, in turn, has provided new tools for the immunohistochemical elucidation of TRH systems in the CNS. The TRH precursor has also been cloned, leading to possibilities for studying the localization of TRH mRNA with in situ hybridization. Finally, as shown in this paper, improvement of the fixation technique has made it possible to visualize extensive TRH-immunoreactive cell body and fiber systems with antiserum raised against the TRH tripeptide. The results from the latter studies and those with antisera directed to the TRH precursor and in situ hybridization are in good agreement, with some minor exceptions. It should be pointed out that some of the systems described here, for example TRH positive-cell bodies in cortical areas and the hippocampal formation, contain only a very weak immunoreactivity. As always with immunohistochemical techniques, the possibility of crossreactivity with TRH-like peptides or TRH-like sequences within larger proteins must be considered. The present results confirm the presence of TRH-LI in the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, which with the improved technique can be demonstrated also in early adulthood in rats and guinea pigs. Moreover, it could be established that TRH-LI is present in neurons in the gastrointestinal tract as well as in a population of endocrine cells in the antrum of the stomach of the guinea pig. These cells seem at least partly to be identical to the well-known gastrin-producing cells. TRH-LI has been observed to occur in neurons already containing a classical transmitter and/or other peptides. Of particular importance here seems to be a descending bulbospinal system that in addition to TRH co-contains 5-HT, substance P-LI, galanin-LI, human growth hormone immunoreactive material, and proctolin-like material. The significance of this coexistence is not well understood, but interesting interactions have been observed. Attempts to manipulate the TRH phenotype in these medullary neurons by transplantation to other sites in the brain has so far shown that the expression of this peptide seems fairly stable.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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