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Demonstration of an orexinergic central innervation of the pineal gland of the pig

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Orexins/hypocretins, two isoforms of the same prepropeptide, are widely distributed throughout the brain and are involved in several physiological and neuroendocrine regulatory patterns, mostly related to feeding, sleep, arousal, and cyclic sleep-wake behaviors. Orexin-A and orexin-B bind with different affinities to two G-protein-coupled transmembrane receptors, orexin-1 and orexin-2 receptors (OR-R1 and OR-R2, respectively). Because of the similarities between the human and the swine brain, we have studied the pig to investigate the orexinergic system in the diencephalon, with special emphasis on the neuroanatomical projections to the epithalamic region. By using antibodies against orexin-A and orexin-B, immunoreactive large multipolar perikarya were detected in the hypothalamic periventricular and perifornical areas at the light and electron microscopic levels. In the region of the paraventricular nucleus, the orexinergic neurons extended all the way to the lateral hypothalamic area. Immunoreactive nerve fibers, often endowed with large varicosities, were found throughout the hypothalamus and the epithalamus. Some periventricular immunoreactive nerve fibers entered the epithalamic region and continued into the pineal stalk and parenchyma to disperse among the pinealocytes. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed the presence of orexinergic nerve fibers in the pig pineal gland. After extraction of total mRNA from the hypothalamus and pineal gland, we performed RT-PCR and nested PCR using primers specific for porcine orexin receptors. PCR products were sequenced, verifying the presence of both OR-R1 and OR-R2 in the tissues investigated. These findings, supported by previous studies on rodents, suggest a hypothalamic regulation of the pineal gland via central orexinergic nervous inputs.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Comparative Neurology
Vol/bind471
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)113-27
Antal sider15
ISSN0021-9967
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 29 mar. 2004

ID: 47928670