Estrogen modulation of two subpopulations of β-endorphin neurons in ovariectomized guinea pigs distinguished by peripherally injected fluorogold
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β-endorphin released by neurons in the arcuate nucleus affects the output of several neuroendocrine systems and estrogen levels modulate the production and secretion of β-endorphin. We used intraperitoneal injection of fluorogold to retrogradely label the cell bodies of neurons that project outside the blood-brain-barrier in conjunction with immunohistochemistry for β-endorphin to dual label the subpopulation of β-endorphin neurons that project to the median eminence or other sites of access to the peripheral circulation. We found that some identified β-endorphin neurons in the arcuate nucleus of ovariectomized guinea pigs sequestered fluorogold. Approximately 7% of β-endorphin-containing cells co-localized with fluorogold. The effect of estrogen on the number of identified β-endorphin cells was examined. A single estradiol benzoate injection to ovariectomized guinea pigs 24 h prior to sacrifice dramatically decreased the total number of β-endorphin cells identified in the rostral, medial and the caudal portions of the arcuate nucleus. Also, a significantly smaller percentage of fluorogold-filled cells was found to contain β-endorphin immunoreactivity in the estrogen-treated group. These data suggest that a subpopulation of β-endorphin neurons has access to the peripheral circulation and may alter the output of neurosecretory terminals at the level of the median eminence. Furthermore, estrogen affects this subpopulation and the general population of β-endorphin neurons in the arcuate nucleus in a similar manner.
KeywordsFluorogold β-endorphin guinea pig arcuate estrogen
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