Glutamatergic innervation of growth hormone-releasing hormone-containing neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus and somatostatin-containing neurons in the anterior periventricular nucleus of the rat

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Abstract

Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin are the two main hypothalamic neurohormones, which stimulate or inhibit directly hypophysial growth hormone (GH) release. Majority of the GHRH neurons projecting to the median eminence is situated in the arcuate nucleus and the somatostatin neurons in the anterior periventricular nucleus. Data suggest that the excitatory amino acid glutamate may play an important role in the control of hypothalamic neuroendocrine neurons and processes including the control of GH. There is a dense plexus of glutamatergic fibres in the hypothalamic arcuate and anterior periventricular nucleus. The aim of the present studies was to examine the relationship of these fibres to the GHRH neurons in the arcuate nucleus and to somatostatin neurons in the anterior periventricular nucleus. Double-labelling immuno-electron microscopy was used. Glutamatergic structures were identified by the presence of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGluT2) (a selective marker of glutamatergic elements) immunoreactivity. A significant number of VGluT2-immunoreactive boutons was observed to make asymmetric type of synapses with GHRH-immunostained nerve cells in the arcuate and with somatostatin neurons in the anterior periventricular nucleus. A subpopulation of somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons displayed also VGluT2 immunoreactivity. Our findings provide direct neuromorphological evidence for the view that the action of glutamate on GH release is exerted, at least partly, directly on GHRH and somatostatin neurons releasing these neurohormones into the hypophysial portal blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Volume70
Issue number4-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 16 2006

Keywords

  • Asymmetric synapse
  • Excitatory amino acids
  • Growth hormone regulation
  • Neuromorphology
  • SRIF
  • Vesicular glutamate transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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