Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), synthesized in neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), is one of the main regulators of the pituitaryadrenal cortex endocrine axis. In order to elucidate the possible involvement of the central neuropeptide-Y (NPY)-and adrenocorticotroph hormone (ACTH)-immunoreactive (IR) systems in the innervation of hypophysiotrophic CRF-synthesizing neurons, immunocytochemical double labelling studies were conducted in the hypothalamus of the rat to localize CRF-synthesizing neurons, as well as neuronal fibers exhibiting NPY and ACTH-immunoreactivity, respectively. The parvocellular subnuclei of the PVN received an intense NPY-and ACTH-IR innervation. At the light microscopic level, these peptidergic axons were associated with the dendrites and perikarya of CRF-IR neurons. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that NPY- and ACTH-IR axons established synaptic specializations with parvocellular neurons expressing CRF-immunoreactivity. These findings indicate that both neuropeptide-Y and adrenocorticotroph hormone containing neuronal systems of the brain are capable of influencing adrenal function via synaptic interactions with hypophysiotrophic CRF-synthesizing neurons. The data also support the concept that NPY and ACTH might be ntilized as neuromodulators within the PVN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)