Oxytocin- and vasopressin-producing magnocellular neurons (MCNs) of the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system are the only neuronal phenotypes present in the rat supraoptic nucleus (SON). Laser microdissection of the SON, extraction and T7-based amplification of its RNAs, and analysis of the resulting cDNAs by hybridization on a 35, 319 element DNA microarray have provided a detailed composite view of the gene expression profile of the MCNs. The genes expressed in the SON were compared with those expressed in a reference tissue consisting of total hypothalamus, and this “expression ratio ” indicated which genes were preferentially expressed in the SON. Of the 26,000 unique genes on the array, 1385 were found to be expressed in the SON at levels more than two times greater than in the hypothalamus as a whole. Of these, 123 were expressed �3.4-fold higher in the SON versus hypothalamus. Most of these preferentially expressed genes were not previously known to be expressed in the MCNs. Quantitative and double-label in situ hybridization histochemistry was used selectively to confirm a number of these microarray observations and to evaluate the osmotic regulation and cell-specifi
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