The hypothalamus, especially the preoptic area, plays a crucial role in thermoregulation, and our previous studies showed that the periaqueductal gray matter is important for transmitting efferent signals to thermoregulatory effectors in rats. Neurons responsible for skin vasodilation are located in the lateral portion of the rostral periaqueductal gray matter, and neurons that mediate non-shivering thermogenesis are located in the ventrolateral part of the caudal periaqueductal gray matter. We investigated the distribution of neurons in the rat hypothalamus that are activated by exposure to neutral (26°C), warm (33°C), or cold (10°C) ambient temperature and project to the rostral periaqueductal gray matter or caudal periaqueductal gray matter, by using the immunohistochemical analysis of Fos and a retrograde tracer, cholera toxin-b. When cholera toxin-b was injected into the rostral periaqueductal gray matter, many double-labeled cells were observed in the median preoptic nucleus in warm-exposed rats, but few were seen in cold-exposed rats. On the other hand, when cholera toxin-b was injected into the caudal periaqueductal gray matter, many double-labeled cells were seen in a cell group extending from the dorsomedial nucleus through the dorsal hypothalamic area in cold-exposed rats but few were seen in warm-exposed rats. These results suggest that the rostral periaqueductal gray matter receives input from the median preoptic nucleus neurons activated by warm exposure, and the caudal periaqueductal gray matter receives input from neurons in the dorsomedial nucleus/dorsal hypothalamic area region activated by cold exposure. These efferent pathways provide a substrate for thermoregulatory skin vasomotor response and non-shivering thermogenesis, respectively.
|出版ステータス||Published - 2005|
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