Dopamine turnover in the mediobasal hypothalamus in rat fetuses.
Topographic interrelations of the arcuate nucleus (AN) neurons expressing the dopamine-synthesized enzymes, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and/or aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AAD), as well as projections of axons of these neurons to the medial eminence were studied in male rats at the 21st embryonal and 9th postnatal days as well as in adult animals. The method of double immunocytochemical labeling and its modification were used to reveal these enzymes. For identification of immunoreactive neurons, a confocal microscope was used. At all ontogenetic stages, three populations of neurons were found, which differed by composition of the dopamine-synthesizing enzymes as well as by the character of topographic interrelations of the TH-expressing monoenzyme neurons with the AAD-expressing neurons. In ontogeny, the topographic tight junctions are formed between the monoenzyme TH- and AAD expressing neurons at the level of both the cell body and the distal axons, which seems to increase effectiveness of the L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) transfer from the TH- to the AAD-expressing neurons. The TH- and AAD expressing monoenzyme neurons project their axons to the medial prominence to provide entrance of the products of the specific syntheses into the pituitary portal circulating system. Thus, the morphological data obtained confirm indirectly our hypothesis about a cooperative participation of the TH- and AAD-expressing monoenzyme neurons of the AN in the dopamine synthesis.