Distribution of alpha 2-adrenergic receptor mRNAs in the rat CNS

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1991 Jun;10(3):219-25. doi: 10.1016/0169-328x(91)90064-5.


alpha 2-Adrenergic receptors (ARs) are involved in central nervous system (CNS) control of blood pressure. It is now known that there are three human genes that encode subtypes of alpha 2-ARs, but little is known regarding the distribution of these subtypes throughout the CNS. The availability of receptor clones allows the mapping of mRNAs encoding the individual alpha 2-AR subtypes in the CNS. In this communication, we report that there are three, closely related rat alpha 2-AR genes. We have developed subtype-specific hybridization probes from each of these genes and have used these reagents to measure alpha 2-AR subtype mRNA accumulation in extracts of discrete regions of the rat CNS. We found that mRNAs encoding the alpha 2A-AR and alpha 2C-AR subtypes are distributed widely, but unevenly, throughout the rat CNS. The A subtype is prominent in the midbrain, brainstem, spinal cord, pituitary and diencephalon while the C subtype predominates in basal ganglia and cerebellum. The cortex, olfactory bulb and hippocampus contain roughly equal amounts of the alpha 2A- and alpha 2C-AR mRNAs. A third subtype's (alpha 2B-AR) mRNA is far less abundant in brain tissues, and is only found in the diencephalon.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Brain / physiology*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*


  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J03853
  • GENBANK/M18415
  • GENBANK/M32061
  • GENBANK/M34041