The role of catecholaminergic neurons in the hypothalamus and medullary visceral zone in response to restraint water-immersion stress in rats
The activity of catecholaminergic neurons in the hypothalamus and the medullary visceral zone (MVZ) in rats in response to restraint water-immersion stress (RWIS) was measured by use of dual Fos and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry. In RWIS rats Fos immunoreactive (Fos-IR) nuclei dramatically increased in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), the supraoptic nucleus (SON), the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV), the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), the area postrema (AP), and the ventrolateral medulla (VLM). A small number of TH-immunoreactive (TH-IR) and Fos/TH double-labeling neurons in the PVN, and their absence from the SON, were observed in both RWIS and nonstressed rats. More TH-IR neurons were observed in the MVZ of RWIS rats than in nonstressed rats. In RWIS and nonstressed rats, the percentage of Fos-IR nuclei in TH-IR neurons was 38.0 and 14.3% in the DMV, 34.4 and 9.7% in the NTS, 18.6 and 4.5% in the AP, and 45.7 and 18.9% in the VLM, respectively. In conclusion, catecholaminergic neurons in the MVZ are involved in the response to RWIS; although the PVN and SON also participate in the response to RWIS, the mechanism is not via catecholaminergic neurons.