Distinct populations of presympathetic-premotor neurons express orexin or melanin-concentrating hormone in the rat lateral hypothalamus
I. A. KERMAN; R. BERNARD, D. ROSENTHAL; J. BEALS; H. AKIL; S. J. WATSON
Society for Neuroscience. 2007.
Orexin and melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) have been implicated in mediating a variety of different behaviors. These include sleep and wakefulness, locomotion, ingestive behaviors, fight-or-flight response as well as anxiety- and panic- like behaviors in rodents. Despite such diversity, all of these processes require coordinated recruitment of the autonomic and somatomotor efferents. We have previously mapped the locations of presympathetic-premotor neurons (PSPMNs) in the rat brain. These putative dual function neurons send transsynaptic projections to somatomotor and sympathetic targets and likely participate in somatomotor-sympathetic integration. A significant portion of these neurons is found within the dorsomedial (DMH) and lateral hypothalamus (LH), areas of the brain that contain all of the MCH- and orexin- synthesizing neurons in the CNS. Thus, we hypothesized that hypothalamic PSPMNs utilize MCH or orexin as their neurotransmitter. To test this hypothesis, we identified PSPMNs by using recombinant strains of the Pseudorabies virus (PRV) for transsynaptic tract-tracing. PRV-152, a strain that expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein, was injected into sympathectomized gastrocnemius muscle, while PRV-BaBlu, which expresses ß-galactosidase, was injected into the adrenal gland in the same animals. Using immunofluorescent methods we determined whether coinfected neurons express MCH or orexin. Our findings demonstrate PSPMNs that synthesize either MCH or orexin are present within LH where they form two separate populations. PSPMNs located around the fornix express orexin, while those located around the cerebral peduncle are more likely to express MCH. These two clusters of PSPMNs within LH likely play distinct functional roles in autonomic homeostasis and stress coping mechanisms.