Distribution of bombesin-like immunoreactivity in the nucleus of the solitary tract and dorsal motor nucleus of the rat and human: Colocalization with tyrosine hydroxylase

Richard B. Lynn, Thomas M. Hyde, Robin R. Cooperman, Richard R. Miselis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bombesin is a peptide neurotransmitter/neuromodulator with important autonomic and behavioral effects that are mediated, at least in part, by bombesin-containing neurons and nerve terminals in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). The distribution of bombesin-like immunoreactive nerve terminals/fibers and cell bodies in relation to a viscerotopically relevant subnuclear map of this region was studied by using an immunoperoxidase technique. In the rat, bombesin fiber/terminal staining was heavy in an area that included the medial subnucleus of the NTS and the DMV over their full rostral-caudal extent. Distinctly void of staining were the gelatinous, central, and rostral commissural subnuclei and the periventricular area of the NTS, regions to which gastric, esophageal, cecal, and colonic primary afferents preferentially project. The caudal commissural and dorsal subnuclei had light bombesin fiber/terminal staining, as did the intermediate, interstitial, ventral, and ventrolateral subnuclei. With colchicine pretreatment, numerous cell bodies were stained in the medial and dorsal subnuclei, with fewer neurons in the caudal commissural, intermediate, interstitial, ventral, and ventrolateral subnuclei. Bombesin-like immunoreactive neurons were found in numerous other areas of the brain, including the ventrolateral medulla, the parabrachial nucleus, and the medial geniculate body. In the human NTS/DMV complex, the distribution of bombesin fiber/terminal staining was very similar to the rat. In addition, occasional bombesin like immunoreactive neurons were labeled in a number of subnuclei, with clusters of neurons labeled in the dorsal and ventrolateral subnuclei. Double immunofluorescence studies in rat demonstrated that bombesin colocalizes with tyrosine hydroxylase in neurons in the dorsal subnucleus of the NTS. Bombesin does not colocalize with tyrosine hydroxylase in any other location in the brain. In conclusion, the distribution of bombesin in the NTS adheres to a viscerotopically relevant map. This is the anatomical substrate for the effects of bombesin on gastrointestinal function and satiety and its likely role in concluding a meal. The anatomic similarities between human and rat suggest that bombesin has similar functions in the visceral neuraxis of these two species. Bombesin coexists with catecholamines in neurons in the dorsal subnucleus, which likely mediate, in part, the cardiovascular effects of bombesin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-570
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume369
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • dorsal vagal complex
  • gastrin- releasing peptide
  • gastrointestinal
  • neuropeptide
  • vagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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