Article

Presence of pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA in the rat medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area: Studies by RT-PCR and in situ hybridization techniques

Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente, Calzada México-Xochimilco 101, Col. San Lorenzo Huipulco, 14370 México DF, Mexico.
Neuropeptides (Impact Factor: 2.55). 01/2008; 41(6):421-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.npep.2007.08.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) is a large proteic precursor which originates several biologically actives neuropeptides, such as beta-lipotropin (beta-LPH), beta-endorphin (beta-END), adenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH). The arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus is the main POMC producing cell group in brain and innervates several areas of the limbic system and brainstem. POMC-derived neuropeptides have been related to several motivated and rewarding behaviours, including sexual facilitation, feeding, and drug addiction. However, POMC mRNA has not been detected in regions of the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic system, which represents the most important reward pathway. The aim of this work was to investigate if POMC mRNA is expressed in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the rat. We used the reverse transcriptase reaction coupled to the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We also used the in situ hybridization technique to study the regional distribution of POMC mRNA in the same regions. We report that RT-PCR amplification of extracted RNA with two different pairs of primers generates the predicted 94bp and 678bp POMC-PCR products. Both the amplification of RNA obtained from the rat glial C-6 cell line (which does not express POMC mRNA) and the omission of reverse transcriptase from the RT reaction of rat brain samples showed no amplification products. We have shown for the first time that the rat medial prefrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area contain POMC mRNA. This mRNA is in low concentration, ranging from 21% to 31% with respect to the hypothalamus. In situ hybridization experiments showed that POMC mRNA is homogeneously distributed in these areas. The presence of POMC mRNA in regions of the mesocorticolimbic system could have functional implications in motivated behaviours.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Mariana Leriche, May 01, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
73 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Intercellular signaling peptides (SPs) coordinate the activity of cells and influence organism behavior. SPs, a chemically and structurally diverse group of compounds responsible for transferring information between neurons, are broadly involved in neural plasticity, learning and memory, as well as in drug addiction phenomena. Historically, SP discovery and characterization has tracked advances in measurement capabilities. Today, a suite of analytical technologies is available to investigate individual SPs, as well as entire intercellular signaling complements, in samples ranging from individual cells to entire organisms. Immunochemistry and in situ hybridization are commonly used for following preselected SPs. Discovery-type investigations targeting the transcriptome and proteome are accomplished using high-throughput characterization technologies such as microarrays and mass spectrometry. By integrating directed approaches with discovery approaches, multiplatform studies fill critical gaps in our knowledge of drug-induced alterations in intercellular signaling. Throughout the past 35 years, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has made significant resources available to scientists that study the mechanisms of drug addiction. The roles of SPs in the addiction process are highlighted, as are the analytical approaches used to detect and characterize them.
    Neuropharmacology 09/2008; 56 Suppl 1:196-204. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.07.036 · 4.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The opioid system consists of three receptors, mu, delta, and kappa, which are activated by endogenous opioid peptides processed from three protein precursors, proopiomelanocortin, proenkephalin, and prodynorphin. Opioid receptors are recruited in response to natural rewarding stimuli and drugs of abuse, and both endogenous opioids and their receptors are modified as addiction develops. Mechanisms whereby aberrant activation and modifications of the opioid system contribute to drug craving and relapse remain to be clarified. This review summarizes our present knowledge on brain sites where the endogenous opioid system controls hedonic responses and is modified in response to drugs of abuse in the rodent brain. We review 1) the latest data on the anatomy of the opioid system, 2) the consequences of local intracerebral pharmacological manipulation of the opioid system on reinforced behaviors, 3) the consequences of gene knockout on reinforced behaviors and drug dependence, and 4) the consequences of chronic exposure to drugs of abuse on expression levels of opioid system genes. Future studies will establish key molecular actors of the system and neural sites where opioid peptides and receptors contribute to the onset of addictive disorders. Combined with data from human and nonhuman primate (not reviewed here), research in this extremely active field has implications both for our understanding of the biology of addiction and for therapeutic interventions to treat the disorder.
    Physiological Reviews 10/2009; 89(4):1379-412. DOI:10.1152/physrev.00005.2009 · 29.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic system plays an important role in the reinforcing effects of ethanol. Opioid peptides modulate the activity of this system and have been suggested to mediate, at least in part, the reinforcing properties of ethanol. Thus, beta-endorphin (beta-END) could participate in the development of ethanol reinforcement and addiction. The aim of this work was to investigate the acute and chronic ethanol effects on beta-END content in regions of the mesolimbic system and to examine if chronic ethanol treatment alters ligand binding to mu opioid receptor (muOR). Male Wistar rats received a single acute ethanol dose of 2.5 g/kg or water by intra-gastric administration. For chronic ethanol treatment experiments, one group of rats was given ethanol (10% v/v solution) to drink, two groups were given equivalent volumes of sucrose (14.14% isocaloric solution) or water, respectively, and a fourth group had ad libitum access to food and water. Treatment was followed for 4 weeks. Beta-endorphin content in brain regions was quantified by radioimmunoassay and ligand binding studies to muOR were performed by quantitative autoradiography using 8 nM [(3)H]-DAMGO as radioligand. Acute ethanol decreased beta-END content in the hypothalamus (26%) 1h after administration. No ethanol effects were observed in the midbrain, ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra, nucleus accumbens, nucleus accumbens-septum and prefrontal cortex. Chronic ethanol treatment neither changed beta-END levels nor [(3)H]-DAMGO binding to mu opioid receptors in any of the regions studied. However, beta-END levels in the sucrose group were significantly increased in the nucleus accumbens and substantia nigra, in comparison to all other groups. These findings suggest that different neural mechanisms and specific brain regions may be involved in the reinforcing effects of ethanol and sucrose.
    Neuropeptides 02/2010; 44(1):9-16. DOI:10.1016/j.npep.2009.11.009 · 2.55 Impact Factor
Show more