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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Jan 8;364(2):290-310.

Localization of the neuromedin K receptor (NK3) in the central nervous system of the rat.

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Department of Morphological Brain Science, Kyoto University, Japan.


The distribution of the neuromedin K receptor (NK3; NKR) in the central nervous system was investigated in the adult rat by using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical techniques. The rabbit anti-NKR antibody was raised against a bacterial fusion protein containing a C-terminal portion of NKR and affinity purified with a Sepharose 4B column conjugated to the fusion protein. Immunoblot analysis was performed to test the reactivity and specificity of the antibody. Crude membrane was prepared from cDNA-transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing each of the rat NKR, substance P receptor (NK1; SPR), and substance K receptor (NK2; SKR) and from the hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum. Immunoreactive bands were observed specifically in the NKR-CHO cells, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortex but not in the SPR- or SKR-CHO cells, nor in the cerebellum. Molecular weights of the immunoreactive bands ranged from 73 to 89 kDa and from 59 to 83 kDa in the NKR-CHO cells and tissues, respectively. The distribution of NKR-like immunoreactivity coincided with that of NKR mRNA. The expression of NKR was indicated on neuronal cell bodies and dendrites. NKR was found to be expressed intensely or moderately in neurons in the glomerular and granule cell layers of the main olfactory bulb; glomerular and mitral cell layers of the accessory olfactory bulb; layers IV and V of the cerebral neocortex; medial septal nucleus; nucleus of the diagonal band; bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; globus pallidus; ventral pallidum; paraventricular nucleus; supraoptic nucleus; zona incerta; dorsal, lateral, and posterior hypothalamic areas; amygdaloid nuclei; medial habenular nucleus; ventral tegmental area; midbrain periaqueductal gray; interpeduncular nuclei; substantia nigra pars compacta; linear, median, dorsal, and pontine raphe nuclei; posteromedial tegmental nucleus; sphenoid nucleus; nucleus of the solitary tract; intermediate and rostroventrolateral reticular nuclei; and lamina II of the caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus and spinal dorsal horn. These findings are discussed in relation to the physiological functions associated with neuromedin K.

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