[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hippocampal formation (HF) is an important site at which stress circuits and endogenous opioid systems intersect, likely playing a critical role in the interaction between stress and drug addiction. Prior study findings suggest that the stress-related neuropeptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and the delta opioid receptor (DOR) may localize to similar neuronal populations within HF lamina. Here, hippocampal sections of male and cycling female adult Sprague-Dawley rats were processed for immunolabeling using antisera directed against the DOR and CRF peptide, as well as interneuron subtype markers somatostatin or parvalbumin, and analyzed by fluorescence and electron microscopy. Both DOR- and CRF-labeling was observed in interneurons in the CA1, CA3, and dentate hilus. Males and normal cycling females displayed a similar number of CRF immunoreactive neurons co-labeled with DOR and a similar average number of CRF-labeled neurons in the dentate hilus and stratum oriens of CA1 and CA3. In addition, 70% of DOR/CRF dual-labeled neurons in the hilar region co-labeled with somatostatin, suggesting a role for these interneurons in regulating perforant path input to dentate granule cells. Ultrastructural analysis of CRF-labeled axon terminals within the hilar region revealed that proestrus females have a similar number of CRF-labeled axon terminals that contain DORs compared to males but an increased number of CRF-labeled axon terminals without DORs. Taken together, these findings suggest that while DORs are anatomically positioned to modulate CRF immunoreactive interneuron activity and CRF peptide release, their ability to exert such regulatory activity may be compromised in females when estrogen levels are high.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hippocampal formation (HF) is involved in modulating learning related to drug abuse. While HF-dependent learning is regulated by both endogenous opioids and estrogen, the interaction between these two systems is not well understood. The mossy fiber (MF) pathway formed by dentate gyrus (DG) granule cell axons is involved in some aspects of learning and contains abundant amounts of the endogenous opioid peptide dynorphin (DYN). To examine the influence of ovarian steroids on DYN expression, we used quantitative light microscopic immunocytochemistry to measure DYN levels in normal cycling rats as well as in two established models of hormone-treated ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Rats in estrus had increased levels of DYN-immunoreactivity (ir) in the DG and certain CA3 lamina compared with rats in proestrus or diestrus. OVX rats exposed to estradiol for 24 h showed increased DYN-ir in the DG and CA3, while those with 72 h estradiol exposure showed increases only in the DG. Six hours of estradiol exposure produced no change in DYN-ir. OVX rats chronically implanted with medroxyprogesterone also showed increased DYN-ir in the DG and CA3. Next, dual-labeling electron microscopy (EM) was used to evaluate the subcellular relationships of estrogen receptor (ER) alpha-, ERbeta and progestin receptor (PR) with DYN-labeled MFs. ERbeta-ir was in some DYN-labeled MF terminals and smaller terminals, and had a subcellular association with the plasmalemma and small synaptic vesicles. In contrast, ERalpha-ir was not in DYN-labeled terminals, although some DYN-labeled small terminals synapsed on ERalpha-labeled dendritic spines. PR labeling was mostly in CA3 axons, some of which were continuous with DYN-labeled terminals. These studies indicate that ovarian hormones can modulate DYN in the MF pathway in a time-dependent manner, and suggest that hormonal effects on the DYN-containing MF pathway may be directly mediated by ERbeta and/or PR activation.