Analysis of peptide histidine-isoleucine/vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-immunoreactive neurons in the central nervous system with special reference to their relation to corticotropin releasing factor- and enkephalin-like immunoreactivities in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus

Neuroscience. 1987 Dec;23(3):827-57. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(87)90162-x.


The distribution of peptide histidine-isoleucine (PHI) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), two peptides derived from the same precursor molecule, was analysed with immunohistochemistry in the central nervous system of the rat, and to a limited extent in some other species including sheep, monkey and man. Special attention was focused on possible cross-reactivity between PHI antisera and corticotropin releasing factor in parvocellular neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus projecting to the external layer of the median eminence. (1) Characterization of the PHI and VIP antisera revealed that they recognized different sequences of the peptide molecules. One of the PHI antisera (PHI-N), although mainly N-terminally directed, also probably contained an antibody population directed against the C-terminal amino acid in PHI which is an amidated isoleucine. Rat and human corticotropin releasing factor but not ovine also have an amidated isoleucine in C-terminal position. (2) PHI- and VIP-like immunoreactivity were found with parallel and overlapping distribution in all areas investigated in the rat central nervous system. In many cases coexistence of the two immunoreactivities could be directly demonstrated. PHI neurons were found in some areas so far not know to contain PHI/VIP neurons, including the dorsal septum, the septofimbrial nucleus, the stria terminalis and lamina V of the spinal cord. (3) Using an antiserum directed against the amino acid sequence 111-122 of the VIP/PHI precursor, immunoreactive cell bodies were seen in some areas containing VIP and PHI neurons. PHI- and VIP-like immunoreactivity were expressed in parallel in increasing amounts in the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn after transection of the sciatic nerve [G. P. McGregor et al. (1984) Neuroscience 13, 207-216; S. A. S. Shehab and M. E. Atkinson (1984) J. Anat. 139, 725; S. A. S. Shehab and M. E. Atkinson (1986) Expl Brain Res. 62, 422-430]. (5) The PHI-N antiserum stains large numbers of immunoreactive cells in the parvocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus and these cells are mostly identical with corticotropin releasing factor-positive neurons. Absorption experiments suggested that this PHI-N-like immunoreactivity to a large extent represented cross-reactivity with rat CRF and that earlier demonstration of many PHI-positive neurons in the paraventricular nucleus probably represents an artefact as proposed by F. Berkenbosch et al. (Neuroendocrinology 44, 338-346). However, some cells did, in fact, contain VIP- as well as PHI-like immunoreactivity as was shown with antisera not cross-reacting with corticotropin releasing factor.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cats
  • Central Nervous System / analysis*
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / analysis*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Enkephalins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / analysis*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / cytology
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / metabolism
  • Peptide PHI / analysis*
  • Peptide PHI / metabolism
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sheep
  • Spinal Cord / analysis
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / analysis*
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism


  • Enkephalins
  • Peptide PHI
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone