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, 93 (6), 2359-64

Distinct Mechanisms Underlie Activation of Hypothalamic Neurosecretory Neurons and Their Medullary Catecholaminergic Afferents in Categorically Different Stress Paradigms

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Distinct Mechanisms Underlie Activation of Hypothalamic Neurosecretory Neurons and Their Medullary Catecholaminergic Afferents in Categorically Different Stress Paradigms

H Y Li et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

Intermittent electrical footshock induces c-fos expression in parvocellular neurosecretory neurons expressing corticotropin-releasing factor and in other visceromotor cell types of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH). Since catecholaminergic neurons of the nucleus of the solitary tract and ventrolateral medulla make up the dominant loci of footshock-responsive cells that project to the PVH, these were evaluated as candidate afferent mediators of hypothalamic neuroendocrine responses. Rats bearing discrete unilateral transections of this projection system were exposed to a single 30-min footshock session and sacrificed 2 hr later. Despite depletion of the aminergic innervation on the ipsilateral side, shock-induced up-regulation of Fos protein and corticotropin-releasing factor mRNA were comparable in strength and distribution in the PVH on both sides of the brain. This lesion did, however, result in a substantial reduction of Fos expression in medullary aminergic neurons on the ipsilateral side. These results contrast diametrically with those obtained in a systemic cytokine (interleukin 1) challenge paradigm, where similar cuts ablated the Fos response in the ipsilateral PVH but left intact the induction seen in the ipsilateral medulla. We conclude that (i) footshock-induced activation of medullary aminergic neurons is a secondary consequence of stress, mediated via a descending projection transected by our ablation, (ii) stress-induced activation of medullary aminergic neurons is not necessarily predictive of an involvement of these cell groups in driving hypothalamic visceromotor responses to a given stressor, and (iii) despite striking similarities in the complement of hypothalamic effector neurons and their afferents that may be activated by stresses of different types, distinct mechanisms may underlie adaptive hypothalamic responses in each.

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