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      Evidence that β-endorphin is synthesized in cells in the nucleus tractus solitarius: detection of POMC mRNA

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      Brain Research

      Elsevier BV

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          Evidence from a number of sources indicates that the major site of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-producing cells in the CNS is the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Using immunocytochemical techniques, a second, smaller group of POMC cells has been detected in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) area of the caudal medulla. However, POMC mRNA has never been reported in the NTS even though it has been found in other extrahypothalamic brain regions. Thus, there is some uncertainty as to whether POMC peptides are actually synthesized de novo in the NTS. In the present study, we used biochemical and anatomical techniques to examine whether POMC mRNA is localized in the NTS. Using in situ hybridization, cells containing POMC mRNA were found in the caudal portion of the NTS. The nucleic acid distribution correlated well with the anatomical distribution of 16k POMC peptide immunoreactivity as determined by immunocytochemistry. Northern analysis revealed that the apparent size of POMC mRNA in the NTS was similar to that found in the arcuate nucleus or the pituitary gland. Results of RNase protection assays using a POMC riboprobe complementary to the 5' end of exon 3 suggested that POMC mRNA in the NTS and arcuate nucleus are identical in this region of the message at least. We also calculated POMC peptide product to mRNA ratios in different tissues and found that NTS cells appear to produce less peptide per mRNA molecule than those in the arcuate nucleus or pituitary gland.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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          Brain Research
          Brain Research
          Elsevier BV
          August 1992
          August 1992
          : 587
          : 2
          : 269-275
          © 1992


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