Single stress induces long-lasting elevations in vasopressin mRNA levels in CRF hypophysiotrophic neurones, but repeated stress is required to modify AVP immunoreactivity

J. M. Aubry, V. Bartanusz, D. Jezova, D. Belin, Jozsef Z. Kiss

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Repeated stress is known to induce an increased vasopressin (AVP) expression in paraventricular corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) neurones which is supposed to enhance the ACTH-releasing capacity of these cells. To test the hypothesis that a single stress is sufficient to produce these changes, we used quantitative in-situ hybridization analysis to measure steady state CRF and AVP mRNA. Moreover the colocalized AVP and CRF immunoreactive sites were assessed in the dense core vesicle compartment of CRF axon terminals in the external zone of the median eminence with quantitative immunoelectron microscopy. Acute immobilization produced a significant increase in the average AVP and CRF mRNA levels (145% and 65%, respectively, above control values) in the medial parvocellular subdivisions of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and these changes persisted for over 4 days after stress. In contrast to these changes in AVP mRNA levels, there were no concomitant changes in AVP immunostaining in CRF terminals and axons during the 4-day period. However, when immobilization stress was repeated daily, the number of CRF terminals containing AVP increased progressively. Moreover, the ratio of AVP and CRF immunoreactivity in the dense core vesicle compartment was increased. Taken together, these results provide evidence that single stress experience can cause long-lasting changes in AVP and CRF mRNA steady state expression that is not apparently accompanied by changes in peptide levels. They also suggest that repeated stress is required for developing progressive shifts in the neurohormone storage pattern of these neurones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-384
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 1999



  • AVP mRNA
  • CRF
  • Immunoelectron microscopy
  • In-situ hybridization
  • Paraventricular nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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