Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Hypoglycaemia induced by insulin injection is a powerful stimulus to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and drives the secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone and vasopressin from the neurones in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), as well as the downstream hormones, adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone. In some brain regions, hypoglycaemia also provokes increases in extracellular fluid concentrations of glutamate. Regulation of glutamatergic mechanisms could be involved in the control of the HPA axis during hypoglycaemic stress and one potential site of regulation might be at the receptors for glutamate, which are expressed in the PVN. Insulin (2.0 IU/kg, i.p.) or saline was administered to adult male Sprague-Dawley rats and the animals were sacrificed 30 min, 180 min and 24 h after injection. The amount of several kainic acid-preferring glutamate receptor mRNAs (i.e. KA2, GluR5 and GluR6) were assessed in the PVN by in situ hybridisation histochemistry. Injection of insulin induced a rapid fall in plasma glucose concentrations, which was mirrored by an increase in plasma corticosterone concentrations. KA2 and GluR5 mRNAs are highly expressed within the rat PVN, and responded to hypoglycaemia with robust increases in expression that endured beyond the period of hypoglycaemia itself. However, GluR6 mRNA is expressed in the areas adjacent to the PVN and hypoglycaemic stress failed to alter expression of this mRNA. These experiments suggest that kainic acid-preferring glutamate receptors are responsive to changes in plasma glucose concentrations and may participate in the activation of the PVN neurones during hypoglycaemic stress.
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