Evidence of D2 receptor expression in the nucleus incertus of the rat

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Abstract

The nucleus incertus (NI), located in the caudal brainstem, mainly consists of GABAergic neurons with widespread projections across the brain. It is the chief source of relaxin-3 in the mammalian brain and densely expresses corticotropin-releasing factor type 1 (CRF1) receptors. Several other neurotransmitters, peptides and receptors are reportedly expressed in the NI. In the present investigation, we show the expression of dopamine type-2 (D2) receptors in the NI by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), western blotting (WB) and immunofluorescence (IF). RT-PCR did not show expression of D3 receptors. D2 receptor short isoform (D2S)-like, relaxin-3, CRF1/2 receptor and NeuN immunoreactivity were co-expressed in the cells of the NI. Behavioural effects of D2 receptor activation by intra-NI infusion of quinpirole (a D2/D3 agonist) were evaluated. Hypolocomotion was observed in home cage monitoring system (LABORAS) and novel environment-induced suppression of feeding behavioural paradigms. Thus the D2 receptors expressed in the NI are likely to play a role in locomotion. Based on its strong bidirectional connections to the median raphe and interpeduncular nuclei, the NI was predicted to play a role in modulating behavioural activity and the present results lend support to this hypothesis. This is the first evidence of expression of a catecholamine receptor, D2-like immunoreactivity, in the NI.

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Kumar, J. R., Rajkumar, R., Farooq, U., Lee, L. C., Tan, F. C. K., & Dawe, G. S. (2015). Evidence of D2 receptor expression in the nucleus incertus of the rat. Physiology and Behavior, 151, 525–534. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.08.024

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