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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Aug 12;372(1):135-65.

Distribution of alpha 2C-adrenergic receptor-like immunoreactivity in the rat central nervous system.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


The distribution of alpha 2C-adrenergic receptors (ARs) in rat brain and spinal cord was examined immunohistochemically by using an affinity purified polyclonal antibody. The antibody was directed against a recombinant fusion protein consisting of a 70-amino-acid polypeptide portion of the third intracellular loop of the alpha 2C-AR fused to glutathione-S-transferase. Selectivity and subtype specificity of the antibody were demonstrated by immunoprecipitation of [125I]-photoaffinity-labeled alpha 2-AR and by immunohistochemical labeling of COS cells expressing the individual rat alpha 2-AR subtypes. In both cases the antibody recognized only the alpha 2C-AR subtype, and immunoreactivity was eliminated by preadsorption of the antibody with excess antigen. In rat brain, alpha 2C-AR-like immunoreactivity (alpha 2C-AR-LI) was found primarily in neuronal perikarya, with some labeling of proximal dendrites; analysis by confocal microscopy revealed the intracellular localization of some of the immunoreactivity. Areas of dense immunoreactivity include anterior olfactory nucleus, piriform cortex, septum, diagonal band, pallidum, preoptic areas, supraoptic nucleus, suprachiasmatic nucleus, paraventricular nucleus, amygdala, hippocampus (CA1 and dentate gyrus), substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, raphe (pontine and medullary), motor trigeminal nucleus, facial nucleus, vestibular nucleus, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, and hypoglossal nucleus. Labeling was found in specific laminae throughout the cortex, and a sparse distribution of very darkly labeled cells was observed in the striatum. At all levels of the spinal cord there were small numbers of large, darkly labeled cells in layer IX and much smaller cells in layer X. In general, the pattern of alpha 2C-LI throughout the neuraxis is consistent with previously published reports of the distribution of receptor mRNA detected by hybridization histochemistry.

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