Various transgenic mouse lines to study proopiomelanocortin cells in the brain stem label disparate populations of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons

Andrew R. Rau, Alexander R. Hughes, Shane T. Hentges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Products of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) prohormone regulate aspects of analgesia, reward, and energy balance; thus, the neurons that produce POMC in the hypothalamus have received considerable attention. However, there are also cells in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) that transcribe Pomc, although low levels of Pomc mRNA and relative lack of POMC peptide products in the adult mouse NTS have hindered the study of these cells. Therefore, studies of NTS POMC cells have largely relied on transgenic mouse lines. Here, we set out to determine the amino acid (AA) transmitter phenotype of NTS POMC neurons by using Pomc-Gfp transgenic mice to identify POMC cells. We found that cells expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) represent a mix of GABAergic and glutamatergic cells as indicated by Gad2 and vesicular Glut2 (νGlut2) mRNA expression, respectively. We then examined the AA phenotype of POMC cells labeled by a Pomc-Cre transgene and found that these are also a mix of GABAergic and glutamatergic cells. However, the NTS cells labeled by the Gfp- and Cre-containing transgenes represented distinct populations of cells in three different Pomc-Cre mouse lines. Consistent with previous work, we were unable to reliably detect Pomc mRNA in the NTS despite clear expression in the hypothalamus. Thus, it was not possible to determine which transgenic tool most accurately identifies NTS cells that may express Pomc or release POMC peptides, although the results indicate the transgenic tools for study of these NTS neurons can label disparate populations of cells with varied AA phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R144-R152
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume315
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Glutamate
  • In situ hybridization
  • Nucleus of the solitary tract
  • γ-aminobutyric acid

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