Fox K, Wolff I, Curtis A, Pernar L, Van Bockstaele EJ, Valentino RJ (2002) Multiple lines of evidence for the existence of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptors on locus coeruleus (LC) neurons. Neuroscience 2002 Abstracts 637.9. Society for Neuroscience, Orlando, FL.
Summary: Several physiological and anatomical findings suggest that CRF acts as a neuromodulator of LC neuronal activity. However, in situ hybridization studies have failed to demonstrate the existence of CRF receptor mRNA in LC neurons, arguing against a direct effect on these neurons. Here, a combination of techniques was used to test the hypothesis that LC neurons express CRF receptors. Primers for CRF-R1 and beta-actin were generated and micropunches of the LC were subjected to RT-PCR analysis. Bands at the predicted size for each PCR product were detected in samples obtained from the LC. The presence of CRF-receptor immunolabeling in LC tissue was also examined in Western blots. This revealed a band at 52 kD, consistent with the molecular weight reported in brain and the band was absent in membranes incubated with a combination of the CRF receptor antisera and the blocking peptide. In dual labeling immunohistochemical studies, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunolabeled LC neurons exhibited CRF-receptor immunolabeling and this was absent in sections that were incubated in antisera that was preabsorbed with the blocking peptide. Ultrastructural analysis also revealed co-localization of CRF-receptor immunolabeling and TH in LC dendrites. Finally, intra-LC injection of a CRF-saporin conjugate (40-60 ng in 30 nl), but not unconjugated saporin, resulted in a time dependent neuronal damage that was selective to LC neurons. The present findings provide convergent evidence for the existence of CRF receptors in LC neurons.
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