Neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and binding sites in the rat mediobasal hypothalamus: effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) lesions

Exp Brain Res. 1989;76(2):343-68. doi: 10.1007/BF00247894.


Indirect immunofluorescence histochemistry and receptor autoradiography were used to study the localization of transmitter-/peptide-containing neurons and peptide binding sites in the mediobasal hypothalamus in normal rats and in rats treated neonatally with repeated doses of the neurotoxin monosodium-glutamate (MSG). In the arcuate nucleus, the results showed a virtually complete loss of cell bodies containing immunoreactivity for growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF), galanin (GAL), dynorphin (DYN), enkephalin (ENK), corticotropin-like intermediate peptide (CLIP), neuropeptide Y (NPY), and neuropeptide K (NPK). Tyrosine hydroxylase(TH)-glutamic acid decarboxylase(GAD)-, neurotensin(NT)- and somatostatin(SOM)-immunoreactive (IR) cells were, however, always detected in the ventrally dislocated, dorsomedial division of the arcuate nucleus. In the median eminence, marked decreases in numbers of GAD-, NT-, GAL-, GRF-, DYN-, and ENK-IR fibers were observed. The numbers of TH-, SOM- and NPY-IR fibers were in contrast not or only affected to a very small extent, as revealed with the immunofluorescence technique. Biochemical analysis showed a tendency for MSG to reduce dopamine levels in the median eminence of female rats, whereas no effect was observed in male rats. Autoradiographic studies showed high to moderate NT binding sites, including strong binding over presumably dorsomedial dopamine cells. In MSG-treated rats, there was a marked reduction in GAL binding in the ventromedial nucleus. The findings implicate that most neurons in the ventrolateral and ventromedial arcuate nucleus are sensitive to the toxic effects of MSG, whereas a subpopulation of cells in the dorsomedial division of the arcuate nucleus, including dopamine neurons, are not susceptible to MSG-neurotoxicity. The results indicate, moreover that the very dense TH-IR fiber network in the median eminence predominantly arises from the dorsomedial TH-IR arcuate cells, whereas the GAD-, NT-, GAL-, GRF- and DYN-IR fibers in the median eminence to a large extent arise from the ventrolateral arcuate nucleus. Some ENK- and NPK-positive cells in the arcuate nucleus seem to project to the lateral palisade zone of the median eminence, but most of the ENK-IR fibers in the median eminence, located in the medial palisade zone, seem to primarily originate from an area(s) located outside the arcuate nucleus, presumably the paraventricular nucleus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / drug effects
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Glutamates / pharmacology*
  • Median Eminence / cytology
  • Median Eminence / drug effects
  • Median Eminence / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Neurotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / drug effects
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism*
  • Sodium Glutamate / pharmacology*


  • Glutamates
  • Neuropeptides
  • Neurotoxins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Sodium Glutamate