OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: Neuropeptides, as the main neuroendocrine system effectors, regulate notably the response to different stressors via a secretory plasticity within their respective hypothalamic neuronal populations. The aim of the present study was to explore by immunocytochemistry the occurrence and the potential expression plasticity of the novel neuropeptide EM66 in the CRH neurones of stressed rats.
RESULTS: The secretogranin II (SgII)-derived peptide EM66 is strongly expressed within hypothalamic neuroendocrine areas such as the parvocellular aspect of the paraventricular nucleus (pPVN) as well as the median eminence, suggesting a probable hypophysiotropic effect of this peptide. As a first approach to investigate such a role, we evaluated by immunohistochemistry EM66 expression within the pPVN following acute immune stress induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or interleukin-1β (IL-1β) injection in rat. This study showed that EM66 is present in the pPVN but the number of EM66 immunolabeled cells did not fluctuate in this structure following LPS peripheral injection. In line with this observation, an intracerebroventricular injection of IL-1β did not provoke any significant variation of the number of intraparaventricular EM66 neurones.
CONCLUSION: The present data revealed for the first time that EM66 expression would be insensitive to the central and peripheral cytokines within the neurosecretory hypothalamic pPVN. This result indicates that EM66 does not participate to the phenotypic plasticity of hypothalamic parvicellular neurones in response to acute inflammatory stress.