Galanin-galanin receptor systems in the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. Some recent findings and future challenges.

Galanin and galanin receptors are widely distributed within the central nervous system, but historically much research has been focused on hypothalamic galanin systems including those in the preoptic area, paraventricular nucleus (PVN), supraoptic nucleus (SON), and median eminence. In early studies, galanin mRNA, immunoreactivity, and binding sites were detected in neurons of the SON and both the magnocellular and parvocellular regions of the PVN, all of which also contain vasopressin, oxytocin, and several other peptides. This article briefly reviews some important recent studies of the electrophysiologic effects of galanin on magno-cellular neurons in vitro; regulation of galanin expression by the physiologic stimulus of lactation; the role of parvocellular galanin systems in energy balance, body weight, and obesity; and the regional and cellular localization of galanin and galanin receptor mRNAs in the PVN/SON. In relation to the latter issue, two distinct galanin receptor subtypes, GalR1 and GalR2, have now been cloned and characterized. In situ hybridization histochemical studies of rat brain by several groups have consistently demonstrated GalR1 mRNA in the SON and PVN, in the magnocellular and parvocellular regions. By contrast, our recent experiments using [35S]-labeled oligonucleotide probes detected GalR2 mRNA enriched in the parvocellular, not the magnocellular regions of the PVN, and the transcripts were not detected in the SON, whereas studies by other using a digoxigenin-labeled RNA probe have detected GalR2 mRNA in the SON (and PVN). Nonetheless, given the known effects of hyperosmotic stimuli, changes in metabolic status, and various hormones on galanin synthesis and release and the ability of galanin to regulate the electrical and secretory activity of magnocellular neurons, it will be of interest to determine any possible (differential) regulation of galanin receptor subtype expression and the pre- and postsynaptic roles of GalR1 and GalR2 receptors in magnocellular and parvocellular neurons.
AuthorsA L Gundlach, T C Burazin
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Ann N Y Acad Sci) Vol. 863 Pg. 241-51 (Dec 21 1998) ISSN: 0077-8923 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID9928175 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Receptors, Galanin
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide
  • Galanin
  • Animals
  • Galanin (physiology)
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus (physiology)
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Galanin
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide (physiology)
  • Signal Transduction (physiology)
  • Supraoptic Nucleus (physiology)

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