Tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA in the neurons of the tuberoinfundibular region and zona incerta examined after gonadal steroid hormone treatment.
The dopamine-producing neurons of the tuberoinfundibular region are known targets of estrogen and progesterone, and are of considerable neuroendocrine importance. To determine the anatomical distribution, and number of cells that contain tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA in the tuberoinfundibular region and other regions of the brain we carried out in situ hybridization on sections prepared from ovariectomized female rats given either oil vehicle, or estrogen, or estrogen plus progesterone. The intensity of label per cell was assessed to compare the relative amount of mRNA found per cell among TH-mRNA containing cells. [3H]cRNA probes to the rat TH sequence were used. Autoradiograms demonstrated the presence of TH-mRNA in the cytoplasm of cells in the arcuate and periventricular nuclei, zona incerta, substantia nigra, and the adrenal medulla. The number and anatomical distribution of cells that contained TH-mRNA was identical to the number and distribution of cells previously demonstrated by others to contain TH immunoreactivity. In the arcuate and periventricular nuclei, compared to treatment with estrogen alone, estrogen plus progesterone did lead to a statistically significant decrease in the number of TH mRNA-containing cells we could detect. No alteration in the mean number of grains per cell, among cells detected as containing TH-mRNA was found in any group. In contrast, these same hormone treatments had no effect on the number TH-mRNa producing cells we could detect in the zona incerta. Most of the cells in the zona incerta are found within the same tissue sections as arcuate/periventricular cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Morrell, JI; Rosenthal, MF; McCabe, JT; Harrington, CA; Chikaraishi, DM; Pfaff, DW
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