Age-Related Changes in Neuropeptide Y Immunoreactivity (NPY-ir) in the Cortex and Spinal Cord of Spontaneously Hypertensive (SHR) and Normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) Rats

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The concentrations of neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity (NPY-ir) were measured in the cortex and cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal cord of 8-, 18- and 31-week-old normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). This peptide was measured using a highly sensitive and specific radio-immunoassay (RIA) developed in our laboratory. The concentrations of NPY-ir in the cortex, cervical and thoracic spinal cord were significantly different between the two strains, with the levels being consistently lower in the SHR strain independent of age. While there was no obvious change in the levels of NPY-ir in the cortex with increasing age, there was a general trend for the levels to fall in all three spinal cord regions. The rate of decrease of NPY-ir in the thoracic spinal cord appeared greater in the SHR compared with the WKY rats. These biochemical differences observed in the cortex and thoracic spinal cord of SHR and WKY rats may be related to the behavioural and blood pressure differences observed in these strains

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