Immunohistochemical mapping of neuropeptide Y in the tree shrew brain

J Comp Neurol. 2015 Feb 15;523(3):495-529. doi: 10.1002/cne.23696. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


Day-active tree shrews are promising animals as research models for a variety of human disorders. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) modulates many behaviors in vertebrates. Here we examined the distribution of NPY in the brain of tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) using immunohistochemical techniques. The differential distribution of NPY-immunoreactive (-ir) cells and fibers were observed in the rhinencephalon, telencephalon, diencephalon, mesencephalon, metencephalon, and myelencephalon of tree shrews. Most NPY-ir cells were multipolar or bipolar in shape with triangular, fusiform, and/or globular perikarya. The densest cluster of NPY-ir cells were found in the mitral cell layer of the main olfactory bulb (MOB), arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, and pretectal nucleus of the thalamus. The MOB presented a unique pattern of NPY immunoreactivity. Laminar distribution of NPY-ir cells was observed in the MOB, neocortex, and hippocampus. Compared to rats, the tree shrews exhibited a particularly robust and widespread distribution of NPY-ir cells in the MOB, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and amygdala as well as the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus and pretectal nucleus of the thalamus. By contrast, a low density of neurons were scattered in the striatum, neocortex, polymorph cell layer of the dentate gyrus, superior colliculus, inferior colliculus, and dorsal tegmental nucleus. These findings provide the first detailed mapping of NPY immunoreactivity in the tree shrew brain and demonstrate species differences in the distribution of this neuropeptide, providing an anatomical basis for the participation of the NPY system in the regulation of numerous physiological and behavioral processes.

Keywords: AB_2313977; amygdala; basal ganglia; hippocampus; hypothalamus; olfactory bulb; ventral tegmental area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylthiocholine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Tupaiidae
  • Vasopressins / metabolism


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Vasopressins
  • Acetylthiocholine