To investigate the expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2), metabotropic glutamate receptor subunit 1 (mGluR1) and estrogen receptor (ER) in neurons of the rat central nervous system (CNS) and identify the coexistence possibility of these immune-neuro-endocrine substances in the central neurons, the tri-labeling immunocytochemical technique with different species-specific primary antibodies (goat anti-IL-2 antibody, rabbit anti-mGluR1 antibody and mouse anti-ER anti-body) were used to incubate two serial neighbor sections (one for demonstrating IL-2, another for mGluR1 and ER) of the cerebral cortex, medulla oblongata and spinal cord. There were IL-2-, mGluR1-and ER-immunoreactivity (IR)-positive labeled neurons in the above-mentioned central areas. The IL-2-IR production showed brown color, located in the cytoplasm; In the neighbor serial section, the mGluR1-IR, production showed blue-black color, located on the cell membranes the ER-IR production also showed brown color, located in the cytoplasm and nuclei. There were mGluR1/ER double-labeled cells in the same section, which accounted for about 50 %–60% of the total single and double labeled neurons. It was identified by projection check of serial neighbor sections that had mGluR1/ ER/IL-2 tri-labeled cells, which accounted for about 30% of total mGluR1/ER double-labeled neurons. The results indicate that mGluR1, ER and Il-2 can coexist in the same rat central neurons, therefore, providing morphological basis for the theory about immune-neuro-endocrine network at the cellular level for the first time.
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