The Effects of Serotonin on the Differentiation of Neurons Producing Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus of the Rat
The morphogenetic influences of serotonin on the differentiation of neurons synthesizing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) in the suprachiasmatic nucleus were studied in rats. This was addressed by comparative morphofunctional analysis of VIP neurons in adult rats whose brains developed prenatally in conditions of normal and deficient serotonin metabolism. Serotonin deficiency was created in fetuses by treatment of their mothers with p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA). Pregnant females in controls were treated with 0.9% NaCl. VIP neurons in experimental and control animals were found to show no differences in VIP mRNA concentrations and, probably, in the level of VIP synthesis. However, inhibition of serotonin synthesis led to an increase in the number of VIP-immunoreactive neurons and an increase in the VIP concentration within these cells. This was not associated with any change in neuron size, which was an indicator of the absence of functional hypertrophy accompanying activation of specific synthesis. Comparison of the data obtained here showed that during prenatal ontogenesis, serotonin has an imprinting influence on the differentiation of VIP neurons and is probably involved in the formation of the mechanism of VIP secretion.
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