Androgen receptor expressing neurons that project to the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus in the male rat

Authors

  • Martin Williamson,

    1. Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3
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  • Victor Viau

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3
    • Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Life Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3, Canada
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Abstract

Androgen receptors are distributed throughout the central nervous system and are contained by a variety of nuclei that are known to project to or regulate the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, the final common pathway by which the brain regulates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) response to homeostatic threat. Here we characterized androgen receptor staining within cells identified as projecting to the PVN in male rats bearing iontophoretic or crystalline injections of the retrograde tracer FluoroGold aimed at the caudal two-thirds of the nucleus, where corticotropin-releasing hormone-expressing neurons are amassed. Androgen receptor (AR) and FluoroGold (FG) double labeling was revealed throughout the limbic forebrain, including scattered numbers of cells within the anterior and posterior subdivisions of the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis; the medial zone of the hypothalamus, including large numbers of AR-FG-positive cells within the anteroventral periventricular and medial preoptic cell groups. Strong and consistent colabeling was also revealed throughout the hindbrain, predominantly within the periaqueductal gray and the lateral parabrachial nucleus, and within various medullary cell groups identified as catecholaminergic, predominantly C1 and A1 neurons of the ventral medulla. These connectional data predict that androgens can act on a large assortment of multimodal inputs to the PVN, including those involved with the processing of various types of sensory and limbic information, and provide an anatomical framework for understanding how gonadal status could contribute to individual differences in HPA function. J. Comp. Neurol. 503:717–740, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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