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The Use of Dopamine β-Hydroxylase as a Marker for the Central Noradrenergic Nervous System in Rat Brain

By Boyd K. Hartman, Doris Zide and Sidney Udenfriend


Improvements in the method for localization of dopamine-β-hydroxylase by immunofluorescence allow the observation of noradrenergic-cell bodies, non-terminal fibers, and axon terminals in the rat brain. The distribution of the hydroxylase correlated well with the results obtained by localization of norepinephrine. Dopamine-β-hydroxylase was not observed in dopaminergic neurons or terminals, indicating that these cells do not have the capacity to synthesize norepinephrine. The use of the hydroxylase as a marker, however, has made it possible to visualize noradrenergic nerve terminals on small arteries in the brain parenchyma that have not been described by catecholamine-fluorescence histochemistry. The source of the terminals on small arteries appears to be central noradrenergic neurons rather than the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. Dopamine-β-hydroxylase generally was not observed in the large arteries of the brain parenchyma. These observations suggest that cerebral microcirculation is regulated by central noradrenergic neurons

Topics: Biological Sciences: Cell Biology
Year: 1972
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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