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Keywords:

  • neuroendocrine;
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus;
  • paraventricular nucleus;
  • arcuate nucleus

Abstract

In situ hybridization and Northern blots were used to study the ionotropic subtypes of the glutamate receptor in the rat hypothalamus. Widespread expression of AMPA, kainate, and NMDA receptor RNA was found in the hypothalamus with the transcripts the same size and number as found in other regions of the brain. Most of the glutamate-receptor subunits studied were expressed in greater amounts in hippocampus than in hypothalamus; GluR5, on the other hand, showed a greater expression in hypothalamus than in hippocampus. On the basis of Northern blot analysis, all regions of the brain examined, including hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, olfactory bulb, and hippocampus, expressed all eight of the subunits studied. Each subunit showed different relative expressions in the different regions.

In the hypothalamus, GluR1 and GluR2 were among the most widely expressed of the non-NMDA ionotropic receptors. Other AMPA-preferring receptors, GluR3 and -R4, were also found, but to a lesser extent. Scattered cells expressed the kainate-preferring receptors GluR5, -R6, and -R7. The NMDA receptor NMDAR1 was detected throughout the hypothalamus. In many regions of the hypothalamus, only scattered cells showed detectable expression of the glutamate-receptor mRNA as detected by autoradiographic silver grains over neurons; unlabeled cells were mixed among labeled cells. Every region of the hypothalamus had several different glutamate receptors. The expression of many different types of ionotropic glutamate receptors throughout the hypothalamus suggests that multiple modes of ion channel regulation by glutamate probably operate here and provides further support for the importance of the excitatory transmitter glutamate in hypothalamic regulation. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.