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Expression of prokineticins and their receptors in the adult mouse brain



Prokineticins are a pair of regulatory peptides that have been shown to play important roles in gastrointestinal motility, angiogenesis, circadian rhythms, and, recently, olfactory bulb neurogenesis. Prokineticins exert their functions via activation of two closely related G-protein-coupled receptors. Here we report a comprehensive mRNA distribution for both prokineticins (PK1 and PK2) and their receptors (PKR1 and PKR2) in the adult mouse brain with the use of in situ hybridization. PK2 mRNA is expressed in discrete regions of the brain, including suprachiasmatic nucleus, islands of Calleja and medial preoptic area, olfactory bulb, nucleus accumbens shell, hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, and amygdala. PK1 mRNA is expressed exclusively in the brainstem, with high abundance in the nucleus tractus solitarius. PKR2 mRNA is detected throughout the brain, with prominent expression in olfactory regions, cortex, thalamus and hypothalamus, septum and hippocampus, habenula, amygdala, nucleus tractus solitarius, and circumventricular organs such as subfornical organ, median eminence, and area postrema. PKR2 mRNA is also detected in mammillary nuclei, periaqueductal gray, and dorsal raphe. In contrast, PKR1 mRNA is found in fewer brain regions, with moderate expression in the olfactory regions, dentate gyrus, zona incerta, and dorsal motor vagal nucleus. Both PKR1 and PKR2 are also detected in olfactory ventricle and subventricular zone of the lateral ventricle, both of which are rich sources of neuronal precursors. These extensive expression patterns suggest that prokineticins may have a broad array of functions in the central nervous system, including circadian rhythm, neurogenesis, ingestive behavior, reproduction, and autonomic function. J. Comp. Neurol. 498:796–809, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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