Immunocytochemical localization of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase in neurons of the human brain stem

Neuroscience. 1987 Dec;23(3):981-9. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(87)90173-4.


The distribution of catecholaminergic cells in the human pons and medulla was illustrated by immunocytochemistry using a polyclonal antibody directed against the catecholamine synthetic enzyme, dopamine-beta-hydroxylase. The antibody specifically recognizes dopamine-beta-hydroxylase in putative adrenergic and noradrenergic neurons. The adrenergic and noradrenergic neurons are found in the brain stem from caudal levels of the medulla through the caudalmost levels of the midbrain. Large numbers of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase-positive cells were observed in cell groups of the medulla. Additionally, dopamine-beta-hydroxylase-positive cells were concentrated in the nucleus locus coeruleus and the nucleus subcoeruleus in the pons. These studies confirm that immunocytochemical localization of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase can be used to identify noradrenergic and adrenergic neurons and their terminal varicosities in the pons and medulla in routine autopsy material. These studies have also illustrated that the distribution of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase in the adult human brain is comparable to the distribution in other species.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Medulla Oblongata / cytology
  • Medulla Oblongata / enzymology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / analysis*
  • Neurons / classification
  • Pons / cytology
  • Pons / enzymology*


  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase