Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) receptors. Localization by light microscopic autoradiography in rat brain using [3H][3-Me-His2]TRH as the radioligand

P. W. Mantyh, S. P. Hunt

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80 Scopus citations


Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) is a putative neurotransmitter in both the central and peripheral nervous system. In the present report, we have used autoradiography coupled with densitometric analysis of tritium-sensitive film to investigate the distribution of [3H][3-Me-His2]TRH ([3H]MeTRH)-binding sites in the rat brain. Previous pharmacological reports have established that many of these [3H]MeTRH-binding sites have a structure-activity profile consistent with being a physiological TRH receptor. A high level of TRH receptors were observed in the accessory olfactory bulb, lateral nucleus of the amygdala, dentate gyrus, and entorhinal cortex. Moderate levels of TRH receptors were observed in the rhinal cortex, hypothalamus, superior colliculus, several brainstem motor nuclei, and lamina I of the spinal trigeminal nucleus pars candalis, while low concentrations of receptors are present in the cerebral cortex, striatum and ventral horn of the spinal cord. Very low levels of receptors were observed in the globus pallidus and in most nuclei of the dorsal thalamus. Comparisons of the distribution of TRH receptors to TRH-immunoreactive content indicates that, while in some areas of the brain there is a rough correlation between levels of TRH peptide and its receptor, in most brain areas there is little obvious correlation between the two. While such a discrepancy has been observed for other peptides and their receptors, the extensive distribution of TRH receptors in the central nervous system does provide an explanation for the variety of behavioral effects observed when TRH is infused into the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-561
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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