Gene expression analysis in the parvalbumin-immunoreactive PV1 nucleus of the mouse lateral hypothalamus

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A solitary, elongated cluster of parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons has been previously observed in the rodent ventrolateral hypothalamus. However, the function of this so-called PV1 nucleus is unknown. In this article, we report the results of an unbiased, broad and in-depth molecular characterization of this small, compact group of neurons. The Allen Brain Atlas database ofin situhybridization was screened in order to identify genes expressed in the PV1-nucleus-containing area of the hypothalamus, and those that might be co-expressed with parvalbumin. Although GABA is the principal neurotransmitter in parvalbumin-expressing cells in various other brain areas, we found that PV1 neurons express the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGlut) VGlut2-encoding gene Slc17a6 and are negative for the glutamic acid decarboxylase 1 (GAD1) gene. These cells also express the mRNA for the neuropeptides Adcyap1 and possibly Nxph4, express several types of potassium and sodium channels, are under the control of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, bear receptors for the glial-derived neurotrophic factor, and produce an extracellular matrix rich in osteopontin. The PV1 nucleus is thus composed of glutamatergic nerve cells, expressing some typical markers of long-axon, projecting neurons (e.g. VGlut2), but also co-expressing genes typical of short-axon GABA neurons (e.g. a variety of potassium channels). Hence, neurons of the PV1 nucleus combine physiological characteristics of interneurons with those of projection neurons.

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