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Changes in oxytocin content in the magnocellular neurons of the rat hypothalamus following water deprivation or estrogen treatment

Quantitative immunohistological studies

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The effect of water deprivation or estrogen treatment on the oxytocin content of rat hypothalamic cells was examined using a quantitative immunohistological technique. Oxytocin-containing cells were visualized using the immunoperoxidase technique of Sternberger and a primary antiserum directed against oxytocin. The optical density of the darkest 3.2 μm diameter spot in the cytoplasm of a cell was used as a measure of the oxytocin content of that cell. Water deprivation produced a significant decrease in anti-oxytocin staining in the anterior commissural nucleus of males and females. There was a similar decrease in the paraventricular nucleus of males, but not in the paraventricular nucleus of females or the supraoptic nucleus of either males or females. Estrogen treatment of ovariectomized female rats produced a fall in anti-oxytocin staining in the anterior commissural, but not paraventricular or supraoptic nuclei.

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Correspondence to C. H. Rhodes.

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Rhodes, C.H., Morrell, J.I. & Pfaff, D.W. Changes in oxytocin content in the magnocellular neurons of the rat hypothalamus following water deprivation or estrogen treatment. Cell Tissue Res. 216, 47–55 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00234544

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Key words

  • Oxytocin
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Supraoptic nucleus
  • Anterior commissural nucleus
  • Immunohistology
  • Rat