The hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus is the key structure of the control of circadian rhythms and has a rich glutamatergic innervation. Besides the presence of glutamatergic afferents, several findings also suggest the existence of glutamatergic efferents from the suprachiasmatic nucleus to its target neurons in various prominent hypothalamic cell groups. However, there is no direct neuromorphological evidence for the presence of glutamatergic neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Therefore, the purpose of the present investigations was to try to clarify this question. Immunocytochemistry was used at the light and electron microscopy level to identify vesicular glutamate transporter type 2 (VGluT2) immunopositive (presumed glutamatergic) neurons in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus. In addition VGluT2 mRNA expression in neurons of the nucleus was also addressed with radioisotopic in situ hybridization. Both at the light and electron microscopy level we detected VGluT2 positive neurons, which did not contain GABA, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide or vasopressin. Further, we demonstrated the expression of VGluT2 mRNA in a few cells within the suprachiasmatic nucleus; these glutamatergic cells were distinct from somatostatin mRNA expressing neurons. As VGluT2 is a selective marker of glutamatergic neuronal elements, the present observations provide direct neuromorphological evidence for the presence of glutamatergic neurons in the cell group.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Brain Research Bulletin|
|Publication status||Published - nov. 1 2007|
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