The paraventriculo-infundibular corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) pathway as revealed by immunocytochemistry in long-term hypophysectomized or adrenalectomized rats

I. Merchenthaler, S. Vigh, P. Petrusz, A. V. Schally

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The immunocytochemical localization of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)-containing pathways projecting from the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) to the external layer of the median eminence (ME) in long-term hypophysectomized or adrenalectomized rats is described. Immunocytochemistry was followed by silver intensification of the diaminobenzidine end-product. In comparison with untreated control rats, both hypophysectomy and adrenalectomy resulted in a dramatic increase in immunostaining of the CRF-containing perikarya and fibers, particularly those originating from the PVN and terminating in the ME. The staining was more intense in adrenalectomized than in hypophysectomized rats. The CRF-positive fibers emerging from the PVN form a medial, an intermediate and a lateral fiber pathway. The lateral and intermediate CRF tracts leave the dorsolateral part of the PVN and course laterally and medially of the fornix, respectively, then ventrally toward the optic tract. Just dorsal to the optic tract they turn in caudal direction and run parallel with and very close to the basal surface of the hypothalamus; individual fibers then turn medially to terminate in the external layer of the ME. Only a few fibers originate from the medial-ventral part of the PVN (medial pathway). These fibers run in ventral direction along the walls of the 3rd ventricle and terminate in the ME. Thus the majority of CRF fibers, similarly to other peptidergic systems, reach the medial basal hypothalamus from the anterolateral direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1983



  • hypothalamus
  • median eminence
  • paraventricular nucleus
  • pituitary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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