Corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA expression in the amygdala of rats after adrenalectomy and bilateral lesions of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus was examined by in situ hybridization histochemistry. Corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA-containing cells are abundant in the intermediate subdivision of the central amygdaloid nucleus. Some corticotropin-releasing hormone-labeled cells are scattered in other subdivisions of the central nucleus and throughout the anterior amygdaloid area. Five days after bilateral adrenalectomy, the number of corticotropin- releasing hormone messenger RNA-containing cells was reduced both in the central nucleus and the anterior area of the amygdala. This reduction was prevented by corticosterone replacement and contrasts sharply with the known rise of corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA in the paraventricular nucleus after adrenalectomy. Corticotropin-releasing hormone messenger RNA expression in the amygdala was up-regulated in rats with six-week bilateral lesions of the paraventricular nucleus. This elevation in corticotropin- releasing hormone messenger RNA was not influenced by adrenalectomy or corticosterone, and it did not correlate with plasma levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone or corticosterone. The possible direct innervation of the amygdala by the paraventricular nucleus is supported by the demonstration of labeled axons from the paraventricular nucleus to the amygdala after injection of an anterograde tracer, Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin, into the paraventricular nucleus. Labeled fibers take two courses: through the lateral hypothalamus-ventral amygdalofugal path and through the stria terminalis. Data presented here suggest that the paraventricular nucleus-amygdala connection is likely to he inhibitory to corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons in the central amygdala. These neurons may participate in behavioral responses to stress effected through brainstem autonomic centers rather than directly through the hypothalamo- pituitary-adrenal axis.
- CRH mRNA
- In situ hybridization
- Paraventricular nucleus
- Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin
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