The hypothalamic-neurohypophysial system of the rat: localization and quantitation of neurophysin by light microscopic immunocytochemistry in normal rats and in Brattleboro rats deficient in vasopressin and a neurophysin.

Research paper by H W HW Sokol, E A EA Zimmerman, W H WH Sawyer, A G AG Robinson

Indexed on: 01 May '76Published on: 01 May '76Published in: Endocrinology


The cellular distribution of neurophysin was examined in hypothalami and neural lobes of normal Long-Evans rats and Brattleboro rats deficient in vasopressin and a major neurophysin. Tissue sections were treated with antisera to bovine, human, and rat neurophysins, using immunoperoxidase bridge techniques. Antisera to oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) were applied to adjacent sections. Two distinct cell populations were discernible in both magnocellular nuclei on the basis of the intensity of cytoplasmic staining. About half of the magnocellular neurons in the supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular (PVN) nuclei of homozygous Brattleboro rats with diabetes insipidus (DI) were devoid of immunoreactive neurophysin, OT, and VP. These cells were presumably the defective counterparts of those neurons that produce VP and its associated neurophysin in normal and heterozygous Brattleboro rats. The cells in homozygous DI rats which were stained with immunoreaction products to NP and OT were more concentrated in the dorsal part of the SON and in the periphery of the PVN. Spatial segregation of different neurons was also seen in the neural lobe, where clusters of stained axons were surrounded by bundles of nerve fibers lacking immunoreactive material. In normal rats and heterozygotes nearly all magnocellular neurons reacted immunologically with antiserum to neurophysin but with different intensities, so that "dark" and "light" cells could be distinguished. The darker cells in heterozygous Brattleboro rats had the same pattern of distribution as cells which contained OT. In homozygous DI rats, only some of those cells which contained neurophysin and OT exhibited a positive reaction with antiserum to VP due to slight reactivity with OT. The results obtained in the homozygous Brattleboro rat would suggest that OT and VP and their associated neurophysins are produced in different neurons in both the SON and PVN. However, in normal rats and in heterozygous Brattleboro rats, VP appeared to be present in both OT-positive and OT-negative neurons suggesting that some cells may have the capacity to synthesize two hormones.