Thyroid hormone administered systemically exerts negative feedback control of biosynthesis of the TRH prohormone in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), the origin of neurons that regulate anterior pituitary TSH secretion, but not in any other group of TRH-synthesizing neurons in the brain. To determine whether this response is mediated by direct effects on PVN neurons, we studied the effect of unilateral stereotaxic implants of L-T3 into the anterior hypothalamus on the concentration of pro-TRH mRNA and pro-TRH in the PVN of hypothyroid rats. Because hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid function is also regulated by central catecholamines, we also determined the effect of unilateral ablation of ascending catecholaminergic fibers to one side of the PVN by stereotaxic injection of 6-hydroxydopamine or transection of ascending catecholaminergic pathways. T3-implanted hypothyroid animals showed a marked reduction in pro-TRH mRNA and immunoreactive pro-TRH in medial parvocellular neurons of the PVN on the same side as the implant, but not in contralateral PVN neurons or TRH-synthesizing neurons in other hypothalamic regions. In contrast, hypothyroid animals implanted with pellets of hormonally inactive 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine showed intense symmetric hybridization and immunoreaction product in both wings of the PVN. Despite marked unilateral reduction in the catecholamine innervation to the PVN, no reduction in pro- TRH mRNA or immunoreactive pro-TRH was observed in the PVN on the affected side compared to that on the unaffected side. These studies demonstrate that negative feedback regulation of thyroid hormone occurs directly on TRH neurons and is restricted only to those in the PVN tuberoinfundibular system.
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