Chemical coding of GABA(B) receptor-immunoreactive neurones in hypothalamic regions regulating body weight

J Neuroendocrinol. 2003 Jan;15(1):1-14. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2826.2003.00843.x.


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) interacts with hypothalamic neuronal pathways regulating feeding behaviour. GABA has been reported to stimulate feeding via both ionotropic GABA(A) and metabotropic GABA(B) receptors. The functional form of the GABA(B) receptor is a heterodimer consisting of GABA(B) receptor-1 (GABA(B)R1) and GABA(B) receptor-2 (GABA(B)R2) proteins. Within the heterodimer, the GABA-binding site is localized to GABA(B)R1. In the present study, we used an antiserum to the GABA(B)R1 protein in order to investigate the cellular localization of GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive neurones in discrete hypothalamic regions implicated in the control of body weight. The colocalization of GABA(B)R1 immunoreactivity with different chemical messengers that regulate food intake was analysed. GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive cell bodies were found in the periventricular, paraventricular (PVN), supraoptic, arcuate, ventromedial hypothalamic, dorsomedial hypothalamic, tuberomammillary nuclei and lateral hypothalamic area (LHA). Direct double-labelling showed that glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-positive terminals were in close contact with GABA(B)R1-containing cell bodies located in all these regions. In the ventromedial part of the arcuate nucleus, GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive cell bodies were found to contain neuropeptide Y, agouti-related peptide (AGRP) and GAD. In the ventrolateral part of the arcuate nucleus, GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive cell bodies were shown to contain pro-opiomelanocortin and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript. In the LHA, GABA(B)R1 immunoreactivity was present in both melanin-concentrating hormone- and orexin-containing cell populations. In the tuberomammillary nucleus, GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive cell bodies expressed histidine decarboxylase, a marker for histamine-containing neurones. In addition, GAD and AGRP were found to be colocalized in some nerve terminals surrounding GABA(B)R1-immunoreactive cell bodies in the parvocellular part of the PVN. The results may provide a morphological basis for the understanding of how GABA regulates the hypothalamic control of food intake and body weight via GABA(B) receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / chemistry
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Dorsomedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / chemistry
  • Dorsomedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / chemistry
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / chemistry*
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / chemistry
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / physiology
  • Male
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / chemistry
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-B / analysis*
  • Receptors, GABA-B / immunology
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / chemistry
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Antibodies
  • Receptors, GABA-B
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid