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      Retrograde Neuron Tracing with Microspheres Reveals Projection of CGRP-Immunolabeled Vestibular Afferent Neurons to the Vestibular Efferent Nucleus in the Brainstem of Rats

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          Objective: A new retrograde neuron-tracing technique with microspheres was used to explore the possible innervation of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-immunolabeled vestibular afferent neurons in the vestibular efferent immunolabeled nucleus in the brainstem. Methods: 0.1 µl of 5% microfluorospheres was injected into the area of the vestibular efferent nucleus, which is located lateral to the genu of the facial nerve. CGRP immunohistochemistry was processed in serial sections of the brainstem at the facial nerve genu level. Double-labeled neurons with both CGRP immunoreactivity and microfluorospheres were examined with fluorescence and confocal laser microscopy. Results: Three types of labeled neurons were observed: (1) neurons only retrogradely microfluorosphere-labeled that were mainly located in the medial vestibular nucleus, lateral vestibular nucleus, superior vestibular nucleus and parvicellular reticular nucleus on the ipsilateral side of the injection; (2) neurons that were both immunolabeled with CGRP and also retrogradedly labeled with microfluorospheres, indicating that they are CGRP cells projecting to the area of vestibular efferent nucleus, these cells were mainly distributed in the superior vestibular nucleus and dorsal vestibular nucleus, and (3) cells only immunolabeled for CGRP that were scattered extensively in the brainstem. Conclusion: The presented methodical contribution demonstrates the suitability of fluorescein-labeled microspheres for retrograde neuronal tracing. The vestibular nuclei contain numerous afferent neurons that send projections to the vestibular efferent nucleus, some of which are CGRP cells. This afferent innervation provides morphological evidence that the vestibular efferent neurons receive input from the vestibular afferent neurons including CGRP cells. These vestibular primary CGRP afferent neurons may have an influence on vestibular efferent neurons. CGRP acts as an important co-transmitter or modulator in the afferent-mediated activity of vestibular efferent neurons, which in turn affect afferents in the vestibular end organs.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Autoradiographic localization of calcitonin gene-related peptide binding sites in human and rat brains.

          125I-calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) binding sites were mapped in the human brain and rat brains by in vitro macroautoradiography, and compared to each other. Binding experiments were made to characterize 125I-CGRP binding on the human and rat brains. Scatchard analysis of saturation experiments from slide-mounted sections of the human and rat cerebellum displayed 125I-CGRP binding sites with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 0.17 nM and 0.11 nM, respectively, and a maximal number of binding sites (Bmax) of 96.8 fmol/mg and 23.0 fmol/mg protein. 125I-CGRP binding was time-dependent, reversible and saturable with high affinity in the brains. Autoradiograms showed a discrete distribution of 125I-CGRP binding sites throughout the brains of human and rat with patterns similar to each other. In the human brain, the highest binding was seen in the cerebellum, inferior olivary nuclear complex, certain parts of the central gray matter, arcuate nuclei of the medulla oblongata and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, and densities of CGRP-binding sites were high in the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, tail of the nucleus caudatus, substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, medial portion of the inferior colliculus, medial pontine nuclei, locus coeruleus, inferior vestibular nucleus, substantia gelatinosa of the spinal trigeminal nucleus, nucleus of the solitary tract and nucleus cuneatus lateralis. In the rat, high densities were found in the hippocampus pars anterior, nucleus accumbens, ventral and caudal portions of the nucleus caudatus-putamen, central and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, caudal portion of the insular cortex, medial geniculate body, superior and inferior colliculi, certain portions of the central gray matter, locus coeruleus, inferior olivary nuclei, vagal complex, nucleus cuneatus lateralis and cerebellum. In contrast, in both species, most of the cortical areas including the hippocampus, most of the thalamus, and hypothalamus exhibited few binding sites. In addition, high quantities of the binding sites were seen on the pia mater and on walls of blood vessels in the brain and subarachnoidea. These results revealed essentially homologous locations of CGRP binding sites in the human and rat central nervous systems and well corresponding distributions of binding sites and endogenous CGRP-like immunoreactivity.
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            Neuroanatomical Localization, Pharmacological Characterization and Functions of CGRP, Related Peptides and Their Receptors

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              Distribution and chromatographic characterisation of CGRP-like immunoreactivity in the brain and gut of the rat.

              Radioimmunoassay, chromatography and immunocytochemistry were used to study the occurrence of calcitonin gene-related peptide in the brain and gastrointestinal tract of the rat. In the brain, the highest concentrations of the peptide were found in the medulla oblongata (58.3 +/- 6.8 pmol/g) where immunocytochemistry showed the presence of immunoreactive cell bodies. Significant concentrations were also found in the pancreas and throughout the gastrointestinal tract, the highest levels occurring in the pyloric sphincter (48.0 +/- 6.0 pmol/g). CGRP-like immunoreactivity in the gastrointestinal tract was restricted to nerve fibers. Chromatographic analysis of the CGRP-like immunoreactivity occurring in these tissues showed that at least 70% was indistinguishable from the synthetic peptide. However, there was also evidence of a number of smaller cross-reacting molecular species.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                23 April 2007
                : 85
                : 3
                : 131-138
                aDepartment of Otology and Skull Base Surgery, Eye and ENT Hospital, Fudan University, and bHearing Laboratory, Public Health Ministry, Shanghai, PR China; cUniversity of Wisconsin Medical School, Division of Otolaryngology-HNS, Madison, Wisc., USA
                101959 Neuroendocrinology 2007;85:131–138
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, References: 31, Pages: 8
                New Technologies in Neuroendocrinology


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