The paralemniscal area, situated between the pontine reticular formation and the lateral lemniscus in the pontomesencephalic tegmentum contains some tuberoinfundibular peptide of 39 residues (TIP39)-expressing neurons. In the present study, we measured a 4 times increase in the level of TIP39 mRNA in the paralemniscal area of lactating mothers as opposed to nulliparous females and mothers deprived of pups using real-time RT-PCR. In situ hybridization histochemistry and immunolabeling demonstrated that the induction of TIP39 in mothers takes place within the medial paralemniscal nucleus, a cytoarchitectonically distinct part of the paralemniscal area, and that the increase in TIP39 mRNA levels translates into elevated peptide levels in dams. The paralemniscal area has been implicated in maternal control as well as in pain perception. To establish the function of induced TIP39, we investigated the activation of TIP39 neurons in response to pup exposure as maternal, and formalin injection as noxious stimulus. Both stimuli elicited c-fos expression in the paralemniscal area. Subsequent double labeling demonstrated that 95% of neurons expressing Fos in response to pup exposure also contained TIP39 immunoreactivity and 91% of TIP39 neurons showed c-fos activation by pup exposure. In contrast, formalin-induced Fos does not colocalize with TIP39. Instead, most formalin-activated neurons are situated medial to the TIP39 cell group. Our data indicate that paralemniscal neurons may be involved in the processing of maternal and nociceptive information. However, two different groups of paralemniscal neurons participate in the two functions. In particular, TIP39 neurons may participate in the control of maternal functions.
- A7 noradrenergic cell group
- Formalin pain stress
- Medial paralemniscal nucleus
- Parathyroid hormone 2 receptor
- Pontine tegmentum
- Tuberoinfundibular peptide of 39 residues
ASJC Scopus subject areas