Vasoactive intestinal contractor (VIC) is a member of the endothelin (ET) family. We have investigated the regional distribution of VIC/ET-2 and of ET-1 gene expression in the adult murine brain and pituitary gland. We used real-time quantitative reverse transcription-linked polymerase chain reaction. VIC/ET-2 gene expression was observed at high levels in the pituitary gland and medulla oblongata in both the mouse and rat. Moderate to low levels of expression were observed in other brain regions. On the contrary, ET-1 gene expression was quite low in the pituitary gland in comparison with the levels observed in the cerebral cortex, striatum, and midbrain. Cold injury to the mouse cerebral cortex caused a significant decrease in VIC/ET-2 gene expression in this structure, whilst expression of the ET-1 gene was increased. These results suggest that VIC/ET-2 may have certain physiological roles that differ from those of ET-1 in the brain and pituitary gland. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
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