Distribution of small vasopressinergic neurons in golden hamsters

Craig F. Ferris, Yvon Delville, Margaret A. Miller, Daniel M. Dorsa, Geert J. De Vries

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45 Scopus citations


In rats, small (diameter: ca. 10 μm) vasopressinergic neurons have been localized in the forebrain, including extrahypothalamic sites, such as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) and the medial amygdala (MeA). In golden hamsters, no such neurons have ever been described in extrahypothalamic sites, while their presence in some hypothalamic sites, such as the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), remains controversial. The present studies were carried out to confirm the existence of small vasopressinergic neurons in the forebrain of golden hamsters, using rats as a positive control. The presence of small vasopressinergic neurons in these sites was first tested by imrnunocytochemistry in colchicine‐treated animals. The resulting distribution was corroborated by in situ hybridization for vasopressin (AVP) mRNA. While a large number of small AVP‐immunoreactive (AVP‐ir) neurons was found in the BST and MeA of colchicine‐treated rats, none was found in the same locations in hamsters. Interestingly, as a few large (diameter: 20–25 μm) AVP‐ir neurons were found in the BST just medial to the small neurons in rats, the same area contained a few large and small AVP‐ir neurons in hamsters. In the PVN, large and small AVP‐ir neurons were found in rats and hamsters. However, three to four times more neurons were counted in rats. These data were confirmed by in situ hybridization. Indeed, in hamsters, no labelling for AVP mRNA was detected in small neurons within the BST and MeA. Furthermore, the PVN of rats contained more labelling for AVP mRNA, as compared to hamsters. These results confirm that the distribution of vasopressiner gic neurons in rats cannot be generalized to other species without a detailed analysis. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • bed nucleus of stria terminalis
  • lateral septum
  • medial amygdala
  • paraventricular nucleus
  • vasopressin messenger RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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