Expression of c-fos protein in rat brain elicited by electrical and chemical stimulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus

T. L. Krukoff, K. H. Harris, E. Linetsky, J. H. Jhamandas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The functional connectivity of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) was studied by assessing the expression of the immediate early gene, c-fos, after unilateral stimulation of this structure in urethane-anesthetized rats. Electrical stimulation for 1 h (10 s on, 10 s off; 15-40 μA at 20 Hz) was accompanied by increases in mean arterial pressure (13-29 mm Hg). In these animals, ipsilateral increases in numbers of neurons with Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI) were immunohistochemically demonstrated in the insular cortex, lateral septum, medial amygdala, hypothalamus, lateral division of the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) of the pons and the nucleus of the tractus solitarius (NTS) and ventrolateral medulla (VLM). Numbers of cells with FLI were quantitated in five areas known for their roles in autonomic function: arcuate nucleus, ventromedial hypothalamus, lateral PBN, NTS (at three levels) and VLM (caudal and rostral). In each case, stimulation of the PVN led to significant differences in number of neurons with FLI on the side ipsilateral to the stimulation compared to the contralateral side. To eliminate effects associated with stimulation of fibers of passage in the vicinity of the PVN, the results after electrical stimulation were compared to those obtained in animals in which the PVN was chemically stimulated unilaterally with the excitatory amino acid L-glutamate (5 one-minute infusions of 50 nl, 0.5 M glutamate over 1 h). Mean arterial pressure was increased after each injection (7-13 mm Hg), and significant differences in numbers of neurons with FLI between sides were maintained in all five areas except the NTS caudal to, and at, the level of the area postrema. An increase in neurons with FLI in the piriform cortex of all animals including controls may be due to injury-induced activation of target neurons from the PVN. These data illustrate that electrical and chemical stimulation of the PVN leads to simultaneous activation of neurons in many targets. All of the target areas studied receive direct projections from the PVN, although multisynaptic projections may also contribute to activation of target neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-602
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic regulation
  • Electrical stimulation
  • L-glutamate
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • c-fos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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