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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1994 Jun 17;79(2):249-59.

Development of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide neurons in the human suprachiasmatic nucleus in relation to birth and sex.

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1
Graduate School Neurosciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The development of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) neurons was determined in the human suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of 43 subjects ranging from 27 weeks of gestation to 30 years of age using immunocytochemistry and morphometry. VIP neurons were first observed at 31 weeks of gestation in the ventrolateral part of the SCN. From 3 months postnatally onwards, VIP positive neurons were observed in some subjects in the centromedial part of the SCN. The centromedial type of VIP staining became a constant finding only at 19 years of age, at term the SCN was still very immature. Only in a few subjects some VIP neurons stained in the ventrolateral SCN and their number and nuclear diameter was small. Postnatally the number of VIP neurons increased gradually until around 3 years of age adult values were reached. After the age of 10 a clear sex difference in the number of VIP neurons was found: males having on average twice as many VIP neurons in the SCN as females. The adult VIP cell numbers in the SCN amounted only 35% of those found earlier for vasopressin. The present data do not support a particular role for VIP neurons in those rhythms that are already present in early development, e.g., of the temperature rhythm in prematures of around 30 weeks gestational age. Our observations in this and earlier papers as well as animal studies do suggest though a possible role for VIP neurons in the SCN in sexual dimorphic functions such as reproduction and sexual behavior.

PMID:
7955323
DOI:
10.1016/0165-3806(94)90129-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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