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Monoclonal anti-vasopressin (VP) antibodies penetrate into VP neurons, in vivo


The fate of monoclonal anti-vasopressin antibodies (VP-MAbs) injected in vivo into the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the rat brain was studied by immunocytochemistry. Depending on the post survival time, VP-MAbs contained in an ascites fluid were stained at different levels of the VP neurons: the cytoplasm of the PVN neurons, the fibres of the median eminence and the granular layer of the Gyrus Dentatus. The identification of endogenous peptides synthesized by PVN neurons showed that the VP-MAbs uptake was specific: it did not appear either in the oxytocinergic neurons or in the non immunoreactive neurons of the Brattleboro rat brain, this rat being genetically incapable of synthesizing central VP. Conversely, VP-MAbs only penetrated into the VP neurons: ascites fluid containing monoclonal antibodies prepared against bovine thyroglobulin (the carrier conjugated to VP in our immunizations) was neither stained in magnocellular neurons nor carried in nerve fibres. The neuronal uptake and transport of VP-MAbs occurred in vivo: they were totally inhibited by heating of the ascites fluid at 56° C for 30 min; this treatment did not alter the VP-MAbs themselves but probably destroyed some thermic sensitive component essential to the macromolecule internalization. The biological effects of antibodies injected in vivo have been reported. The results described here suggest that some specific antibodies passively transferred into the brain could act directly on the peptide synthesis recognized by the antibodies.

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Correspondence to A. J. Burlet.

Additional information

This study was supported by grants from INSERM (CRE 84 60 03)

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Burlet, A.J., Leon-Henri, B.P., Robert, F.R. et al. Monoclonal anti-vasopressin (VP) antibodies penetrate into VP neurons, in vivo. Exp Brain Res 65, 629–638 (1987).

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Key words

  • Vasopressin neurons
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Gyrus dentatus
  • Rat