An antiserum raised against the synthetic tripeptide pyroglutamyl‐histidyl‐proline (free acid) was used to localize thyrotropin‐releasing hormone (TRH) in the rat central nervous system (CNS) by immunocytochemistry. The distribution of TRH‐immunoreactive structures was similar to that reported earlier; i.e., most of the TRH‐containing perikarya were located in the parvicellular part of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, the suprachiasmatic portion of the preoptic nucleus, the dorsomedial nucleus, the lateral basal hypothalamus, and the raphe nuclei. Several new locations for TRH‐immunoreactive neurons were also observed, including the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb, the anterior olfactory nuclei, the diagonal band of Broca, the septal nuclei, the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area, the reticular thalamic nucleus, the lateral reticular nucleus of the medulla oblongata, and the central gray matter of the mesencephalon. Immunoreactive fibers were seen in the median eminence, the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis, the lateral septal nucleus, the medial habenula, the dorsal and ventral parabrachial nuclei, the nucleus of the solitary tract, around the motor nuclei of the cranial nerves, the dorsal vagal complex, and in the reticular formation of the brainstem. In the spinal cord, no immunoreactive perikarya were observed. Immunoreactive processes were present in the lateral funiculus of the white matter and in laminae V‐X in the gray matter. Dense terminal‐like structures were seen around spinal motor neurons. The distribution of TRH‐immunoreactive structures in the CNS suggests that TRH functions both as a neuroendocrine regulator in the hypothalamus and as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator throughout the CNS.
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