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Journal Articles Journal of Comparative Neurology Year : 2006

Localization of the urotensin II receptor in the rat central nervous system


The vasoactive peptide urotensin II (UII) is primarily expressed in motoneurons of the brainstem and spinal cord. Intracerebroventricular injection of UII provokes various behavioral, cardiovascular, motor, and endocrine responses in the rat, but the distribution of the UII receptor in the central nervous system (CNS) has not yet been determined. In the present study, we have investigated the localization of UII receptor (GPR14) mRNA and UII binding sites in the rat CNS. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the highest density of GPR14 mRNA occurred in the pontine nuclei. In situ hybridization histochemistry showed that the GPR14 gene is widely expressed in the brain and spinal cord. In particular, a strong hybridization signal was observed in the olfactory system, hippocampus, olfactory and medial amygdala, hypothalamus, epithalamus, several tegmental nuclei, locus coeruleus, pontine nuclei, motor nuclei, nucleus of the solitary tract, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, inferior olive, cerebellum, and spinal cord. Autoradiographic labeling of brain slices with radioiodinated UII showed the presence of UII-binding sites in the lateral septum, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, medial amygdaloid nucleus, anteroventral thalamus, anterior pretectal nucleus, pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, pontine nuclei, geniculate nuclei, parabigeminal nucleus, dorsal endopiriform nucleus, and cerebellar cortex. Intense expression of the GPR14 gene in some hypothalamic nuclei (supraoptic, paraventricular, ventromedian, and arcuate nuclei), in limbic structures (amygdala and hippocampus), in medullary nuclei (solitary tract, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus), and in motor control regions (cerebral and cerebellar cortex, substantia nigra, pontine nuclei) provides the anatomical substrate for the central effects of UII on behavioral, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and motor functions. The occurrence of GPR14 mRNA in cranial and spinal motoneurons is consistent with the reported autocrine/paracrine action of UII on motoneurons.

Dates and versions

hal-01962761 , version 1 (20-12-2018)



Sylvie Jégou, Dorthe Cartier, Christophe Dubessy, Bruno J. Gonzalez, David Chatenet, et al.. Localization of the urotensin II receptor in the rat central nervous system. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2006, 495 (1), pp.21-36. ⟨10.1002/cne.20845⟩. ⟨hal-01962761⟩
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