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      Developmental Expression of Neurotensin in Thyrotropes and Gonadotropes of Male and Female Rats

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          Besides its potential roles as a central neuromodulator or a hypothalamic neurohormone, neurotensin (NT) may also have endocrine function in the anterior pituitary of mammals. We previously found that NT immunoreactivity is present in the secretory granules of gonadotropes and thyrotropes in both male and female rats, where its levels of expression are under the control of sex steroids. In this work, using immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization, we have studied the postnatal development of NT-like immunoreactivity (NTir) and the mRNA encoding NT (mRNA-NT) in specific anterior pituitary cells of both male and female rats. NT expression starts after birth and displays an identical pattern in both sexes until sexual maturity, with mRNA-NT being detected from day 2 of postnatal life in thyrotropes localized in the central portion of the anterior lobe. This pattern of expression develops progressively throughout the 2nd and 3rd weeks in both sexes. By the beginning of the 3rd week, mRNA-NT can also be detected in gonadotropes localized in the periphery of the gland coinciding with a rise in serum estradiol concentrations in both sexes, and by day 21, mRNA-NT is extensively present in both the periphery and the central region. NTir is observed from days 5–6 in thyrotropes predominantly localized in the central portion of the anterior lobe, and by day 21, NTir is also detected in gonadotropes localized in the periphery of the gland. This pattern remains similar in both sexes until the time of puberty, when female rats start displaying plastic changes in NT expression according to the stage of the estrous cycle. These findings indicate that NT expression in the rat anterior pituitary is cell specific, and develops from birth to adulthood under the control of sex steroid hormones. In addition, preliminary data showing the presence of NT receptors in rat pituitary cells support the hypothesis of a paracrine or an autocrine role for this peptide within the pituitary.

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          Most cited references 6

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          Neurotensin: peptide for the next millennium.

          Neurotensin is an endogenous tridecapeptide neurotransmitter (pGlu-Leu-Tyr-Glu-Asn-Lys-Pro-Arg-Arg-Pro-Try-Ile-Leu-OH) that was discovered by Carraway and Leeman in bovine hypothalami in the early 1970s. Since then this peptide has been the subject of a multitude of articles detailing discoveries related to its activity, receptors, localization, synthesis, and interactions with other systems. This review article does not intend to summarize again all the history of this fascinating peptide and its receptors, since this has been done quite well by others. The reader will be directed to these other reviews, where appropriate. Instead, this review attempts to provide a summary of current knowledge about neurotensin, why it is an important peptide to study, and where the field is heading. Special emphasis is placed on the behavioral studies, particularly with reference to agonists, antagonists, and antisense studies, as well as, the interaction of neurotensin with other neurotransmitters.
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            Extensive co-localization of neurotensin with dopamine in rat meso-cortico-frontal dopaminergic neurons.

            In mammalian brain, dopaminergic (DA) cell bodies located in the ventral mesencephalon give rise to meso-cortical, meso-limbic and meso-striatal systems. Among these, the meso-cortical DA pathway is particularly involved in the processing of emotional and cognitive responses. We demonstrate that the rat meso-cortical neurons specifically contain, in addition to DA, another transmitter, Neurotensin. If this co-localization exists in man, it may provide an anatomical substratum for the biological theory of schizophrenia as well as an indication that potential anti-psychotic drugs which act differentially on the DA ascending transmissions can be developed.
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              Immunoreactive Neurotensin in Gonadotrophs and Thyrotrophs is Regulated by Sex Steroid Hormones in the Female Rat


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                February 2004
                12 March 2004
                : 79
                : 2
                : 90-99
                aSection on Cell Biology, School of Biology, and bLaboratory of Cellular Neurobiology, Department of Physiology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain; cLaboratoire de Neurocytochimie Fonctionnelle, EA 2972, Talence, France
                76632 Neuroendocrinology 2004;79:90–99
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 1, References: 24, Pages: 10
                Reproductive Neuroendocrinology


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