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Infundibular neurons of the human hypothalamus simultaneously reactive with antisera against endorphins, ACTH, MSH and β-LPH

Summary

In man, discrete neurons of the infundibular (arcuate) nucleus contain compounds that can be stained with anti-endorphin (α and β), anti-ACTH, anti-MSH (α and β) and anti-β-LPH immune sera (I.S.)

In the fetus, certain neurons stain with anti-β-endorphin or anti (17–39)ACTH starting from the 11th week of fetal life. At the ultrastructural level, these neurons contain elementary granules that are immunoreactive with anti-βendorphin.

In the adult, neurons immunoreactive with anti-β-endorphin are found in the infundibular nucleus. Their axonal fibers terminate around blood vessels in the neurovascular zone and in the pituitary stalk, or establish contacts with nonimmunoreactive perikarya of the infundibular nucleus. These neurons can be stained with anti(17–39)ACTH and anti-β-endorphin I.S. The most reactive are also stained moderately with anti-α-MSH, anti-β-MSH, anti-β-LPH, anti-α-endorphin, or anti(1–24)ACTH I.S.

These results indicate that, in man, compound(s) identical with or immunologically related to endorphins, β-LPH, ACTH and MSH are secreted by certain hypothalamic neurons. These agents probably originate from a common precursor molecule similar to the so-called pro-opiocortin.

Immunoreactive fibers terminating around capillaries of the median eminence constitute a tubero-infundibular system that may be involved in the neurohumoral control of the adenohypophysis or in the regulation of other peptidergic or monoaminergic endings. Fibers also terminate close to nonimmunoreactive perikarya that might possibly be dopaminergic.

Résumé

Chez l'homme, une population de neurones du noyau infundibulaire renferme des composés révélables par des I.S. dirigés contre les endorphines (α et β), l'ACTH, les MSH (α et β), et la β-LPH.

Chez le foetus, ces neurones révélés par des I.S. anti-β-endorphine et anti-ACTH(17–39) sont identifiables dès la 11ème semaine. Ils renferment des grains de sécrétion immunoréactifs à l'anti-β-endorphine visibles en microscopie électronique.

Chez l'adulte, de tels neurones sont situés dans le noyau infundibulaire. Leurs fibres se terminent autour des vaisseaux dans la zone de Green et la tige infundibulaire, ou au contact de péricaryons non immunoréactifs dans le noyau infundibulaire. Ces neurones sont indifféremment révélés par des I.S. anti-ACTH(17–39) ou anti-β-endorphine. Parmi cette population, les plus immunoréactifs sont marqués par des I.S. anti-α-MSH ou anti-β-MSH, anti-β-LPH, anti-α-endorphine ou anti-ACTH (1–24).

Ces résultats suggèrent que des substances identiques ou apparentées aux endorphines, à la LPH, à l'ACTH et aux MSH sont élaborées par ces neurones probablement à partir d'une molécule mère similaire à la pro-opiocortine.

Les fibres immunoréactives se terminant au contact des capillaires de l'éminence médiane pourraient intervenir dans le contrôle neuro-humoral de l'adénohypophyse, ou dans la modulation d'autres terminaisons peptidergiques ou aminergiques. Les fibres au contact de péricaryons non immunoréactifs peuvent correspondre à des relations avec d'autres neurones infundibulaires, peut-être dopaminergiques.

This work was supported by grants from the D.G.R.S.T. (contract n∘ 78.7.2749, Director Prof. C. Bugnon)

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Abbreviations

β-LPH:

β-lipotropin

ACTH:

corticotropin

MSH:

melanotropin

LH-RH:

luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone

CLIP:

corticotropin-like intermediate peptide

PAP:

peroxidase-anti-peroxidase

IS:

immune serum or immune sera

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Author information

Correspondence to Prof. C. Bugnon.

Additional information

The authors thank the following colleagues for providing compounds necessary in this investigation: Prof. Ch. Li for the human β-LPH; Prof. M. Herlant and Dr. C. Dessy for anti-β-MSH I.S.; Prof. C. Sternberger for PAP complex; Dr. C. Dessaules for ACTH and MSH; Drs. J. Legros, M.P. Dubois and P. Czernichow for anti-neurophysin, anti-oxytocin, and anti-vasopressin. We also thank C. Jacquemard for technical assistance, and M. Soowamber and O. Blandin for translating the manuscript. Endorphins and enkephalins were purchased from Bachern Laboratories, Torrance (California, U.S.A.)

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Bugnon, C., Bloch, B., Lenys, D. et al. Infundibular neurons of the human hypothalamus simultaneously reactive with antisera against endorphins, ACTH, MSH and β-LPH. Cell Tissue Res. 199, 177–196 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00236130

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Key words

  • Endorphins
  • ACTH
  • MSH
  • LPH
  • Infundibular neurons
  • Human hypothalamus
  • Immunocytology