• BRS-3;
  • in situ hybridization;
  • hypothalamus;
  • neurochemical;
  • corticotropin-releasing factor;
  • growth hormone-releasing hormone


Bombesin receptor subtype-3 (BRS-3) is an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Mice deficient in BRS-3 develop late-onset mild obesity with metabolic defects, while synthetic agonists activating BRS-3 show antiobesity profiles by inhibiting food intake and increasing metabolic rate in rodent models. The molecular mechanisms and the neural circuits responsible for these effects, however, remain elusive and demand better characterization. We report here a comprehensive mapping of BRS-3 mRNA in the rat and mouse brain through in situ hybridization. Furthermore, to investigate the neurochemical characteristics of the BRS-3-expressing neurons, double in situ hybridization was performed to determine whether BRS-3 colocalizes with other neurotransmitters or neuropeptides. Many, but not all, of the BRS-3-expressing neurons were found to be glutamatergic, while few were found to be cholinergic or GABAergic. BRS-3-containing neurons do not express some of the well-characterized neuropeptides, such as neuropeptide Y (NPY), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), orexin/hypocretin, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and kisspeptin. Interestingly, BRS-3 mRNA was found to partially colocalize with corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), suggesting novel interactions of BRS-3 with stress- and growth-related endocrine systems. Our study provides important information for evaluating BRS-3 as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:1020–1039, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.