Transgenic approach reveals expression of the VPAC(2) receptor in phenotypically defined neurons in the mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus and in its efferent target sites

I Kallo, T Kalamatianos, N Wiltshire, S B Shen, W J Sheward, A J Harmar, C W Coen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Circadian rhythms in mammals depend on the properties of cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The retino-recipient core of the mouse SCN is characterized by vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) neurons. Expression within the SCN of VPAC(2), a VIP receptor, is required for circadian rhythmicity Using transgenic mice with beta-galactosidase as a marker for VPAC(2), we have phenotyped VPAC(2)-expressing cells within the SCN and investigated expression of the VPAC(2) marker at sites previously shown to receive VIP-containing SCN efferents. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry demonstrated identical distributions for VPAC(2) mRNA and beta-galactosidase and coexpression of the two signals in the SCN. Double-label confocal immunofluorescence identified beta-galactosidase in 32% of the VIP and 31 % of the calretinin neurons in the SCN core. Of the arginine-vasopressin neurons that characterize the SCN shell, 45% expressed beta-galactosidase. In contrast, this marker was not apparent in astrocytes within the SCN core or shell. Cell bodies containing beta-galactosidase were detected at sites reportedly receiving VIP-containing SCN efferents, including the subparaventricular zone and lateral septum and the anteroventral periventricular, preoptic suprachiasmatic, medial preoptic and paraventricular hypothalamic nuclei. The detection of a marker for VPAC(2) expression in the SCN in almost one-third of the VIP and calretinin core neurons and nearly half of the arginine-vasopressin shell neurons and also in cell bodies at sites receiving VIP-immunoreactive projections from the SCN indicates that VPAC(2) May contribute to autoregulation and/or coupling within the SCN core and to the control of the SCN shell and sites distal to this nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-2211
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

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