Angiotensin II activates a nitric-oxide-driven inhibitory feedback in the rat paraventricular nucleus.
The neuronal distribution of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) was mapped in the rat brain. Argininosuccinate synthetase is one of the enzymes of the arginine metabolic pathway and catabolizes the synthesis of argininosuccinate from aspartate and citrulline. Since arginine is the precursor of nitric oxide, argininosuccinate synthetase may act as part of the nitric oxide producing pathway. Argininosuccinate is also suggested to have a messenger function in the nervous system. Therefore, the localization of ASS is of great interest. Polyclonal antisera against purified rat liver argininosuccinate synthetase revealed a characteristic distribution pattern of argininosuccinate synthetase-like immunoreactivity: (1) many neurons with strong argininosuccinate synthetase-like immunoreactivity were observed in the septal area, basal forebrain, anterior medial and premammillary nuclei of the hypothalamus, anterior and midline thalamic nuclei, dorsal endopiriform nucleus of the amygdala, basal nucleus of Meynert, subthalamic nucleus, laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, raphe nuclei, nucleus ambiguus, and the area postrema, (2) neuropile staining was dense in the septal areas, hypothalamus, area postrema, nucleus of the solitary tract, and the laminae I and II of the caudal subnucleus of the spinal trigeminal nucleus and the spinal dorsal horn, (3) relay nuclei of the specific sensory systems such as the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus and the ventral nuclei of the thalamus were devoid of argininosuccinate synthetase-like immunoreactivity, (4) no staining was seen in the large white matter structures such as the internal capsule, corpus callosum, and the anterior commissure, and (5) most of the neurons stained were small or medium in size and appeared to be interneurons. The results suggest that argininosuccinate synthetase affects the widely distributed, neuromodulatory system in the brain.