The ultrastructure and synaptic relationships of the angiotensin II-containing neurons in the area postrema of the rat were studied by immunocytochemistry using the avidin-biotin-complex-DAB method, and also using silver-gold intensification following the DAB reaction. At the light microscopic level, the angiotensin II-like immunoreactive neurons were observed within the area postrema, especially in the upper region. At the electron microscopic level, the angiotensin II-like immunoreactive cell bodies were observed as having a round, unindented nucleus. The nuclei of these neurons were not immunostained. The angiotensin II-like immunoreactive axon terminals often contained a few dense core vesicles in addition to many small clear synaptic vesicles. Numerous axon terminals were found to make synapses on immunonegative dendrites; they were also found to make synapses on angiotensin II-like immunoreactive dendrites. Many angiotensin II-like immunoreactive dendrites received synapses from immunonegative axon terminals. Although angiotensin II-like immunoreactive cell bodies were sometimes postsynaptic to immunoreactive axon terminals, they did not receive synapses from immunonegative axon terminals. These results provide solid morphological evidence of AP endogenous angiotensin II and confirm that in spite of circulating angiotensin II, the local neurons in the AP may also play an important role in angiotensin II-induced cardiovascular regulation.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.