Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 197, Issue 2, pp 325–336 | Cite as

Maturation of the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system

I. localization of nenrophysin, oxytocin and vasopressin in the hypothalamus and neural lobe of the developing rat brain
  • V. J. Choy
  • W. B. Watkins


Sections of the hypothalamus, median eminence and pituitary from fetal and neonatal rats were examined with the immunoperoxidase staining technique and light microscopy. Purified antisera raised against vasopressin and oxytocin, and antisera cross-reactive with rat neurophysin were used to localize these antigens in the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system (HNS). Neurophysin was detected throughout the HNS of the 18-day fetal rat. Vasopressin was present in the hypothalamus and pituitary of the 19-day fetus, and in the median eminence of the 4-day neonate. Oxytocin was not detected in the pituitary until 1–2 days after birth, in the hypothalamus after 4 days, and in the median eminence after 8 days. During the first days after birth the supraoptic nucleus was more mature than the paraventricular nucleus. The HNS did not approach maturity until at least 7 days after birth. The relative maturity of the supraoptic nucleus compared with the paraventricular nucleus, and the detection of vasopressin before oxytocin are evidence for the one-neuron-one-hormone theory. The data do not exclude the possibility that the fetal hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system, and perhaps the fetal hormone, vasotocin, affect the initiation and course of parturition.

Key words

Rat hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system Fetal development Oxytocin Vasopressin Neurophysin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. J. Choy
    • 1
  • W. B. Watkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Postgraduate School of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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