The distribution of twelve biologically active neuropeptides, i.e., thyrotropin-releasing hormone, corticotropin-releasing factor, pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides (adrenocorticotropic hormone, β-endorphin, α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone), leucine-enkephalin, dynorphin A, dynorphin B, cholecystokinin, substance P, galanin and calcitonin gene-related peptide, was examined by immunohistochemistry in the human dorsal vagal complex including the nucleus of the solitary tract, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and the area postrema. Immunoreactivity of all the twelve neuropeptides was found widely distributed in the various subdivisions of the nucleus of the solitary tract, showing a unique distribution for every peptide. Neuronal cell bodies immunostained with leucine-enkephalin, galanin and dynorphin B were found in this region. There were no immunopositive perikarya for any of the peptides in the other structures studied. Fibers containing galanin, corticotropin-releasing factor, substance P, dynorphin B, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and calcitonin gene-related peptide were observed at a relatively high density in the nucleus of the solitary tract. In the same structure, a moderately dense network of fibers immunostained with dynorphin A, cholecystokinin and leucine-enkephalin, but only solitary pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides-containing fiber fragments were observed. In the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus the most prominent network of fibers was found to contain thyrotropin-releasing hormone, galanin and substance P. In contrast to these, no β-endorphin immunoreactivity was detected. The area postrema contained only moderate to low densities of galanin-, substance P-, calcitonin gene-related peptide-, dynorphin B- and cholecystokinin-immunoreactive fibers.
- Area postrema
- Dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus
- Human brain
- Nucleus of the solitary tract
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience