The Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is a marsupial, which is born in an extremely undeveloped state and has a long suckling period in the mother's pouch. In the present study, we examined the immunoreactivities of orexin-A (OXA) and orexin-B (OXB) in the hypothalamus of the Eastern grey kangaroo during the preweaning period, postweaning period and adulthood. In the preweaning period, only a few OXA- and OXB-like immunoreactive (LI) neurons and fibers were present and the intensity of staining was very weak. In the postweaning period, there was a pronounced increase in the numbers of OXA- and OXB-LI neurons and fibers and the intensity of the immunoreactivity was considerably stronger in comparison to the preweaning period. In the adult, the numbers of OXA- and OXB-LI neurons and fibers appeared to be slightly increased and the intensity was slightly stronger in comparison to the postweaning period. At all time periods, the distributions of OXA- and OXB-LI neurons was similar. The postnatal development of hypothalamic orexin neurons may be associated with developmental changes, including feeding behavior. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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