This study was undertaken to reveal whether integration of the peripheral signals, leptin and estradiol, that convey information on the metabolic state and gonadal function, respectively, might occur in the same hypothalamic neuronal perikarya. Light and electron microscopic immunolabeling for leptin receptors (LRs) and estrogen receptors (ERs) was carried out on hypothalamic sections of female rats. In the medial preoptic area, periventricular regions, including the parvicellular paraventricular nucleus, the arcuate nucleus and the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus, all of the cells that expressed immunoreactivity for ERs were also immunopositive for LR. On the other hand, only a subpopulation of LR-containing cells was found to express ERs. The extensive colocalization of receptors for leptin and estrogen in neuronal perikarya of all parts of the hypothalamus suggests a closely coupled interaction between these peripheral signals in the regulation of a variety of behavioral and neuroendocrine mechanisms.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.