Neuronal expression of fos protein in the forebrain of diabetic rats

Hong Zheng, Yi Fan Li, Mark Weiss, William G. Mayhan, Kaushik P. Patel

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17 Scopus citations


We sought to identify the areas that have altered neuronal activity within the hypothalamus of diabetic rats by mapping neuronal expression of c-fos protein (Fos) and Fos-related antigens. After a standard PAP immunocytochemical protocol, Fos-like immunoreactivity was observed in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), supraoptic nucleus (SON), median preoptic area (MnPO), anterior hypothalamus (AH) and posterior hypothalamus (PH) of control (vehicle; n=6) and diabetic rats (Sprague-Dawley rats injected with STZ 65 mg/kg/ip 4 weeks prior to the experiment; n=6). Blood glucose levels were significantly elevated in the diabetic group (370±8 mg/dl) compared to control group (104±3 mg/dl). Diabetic rats had a significantly higher number of Fos-positive cells in PVN (2.5×), SON (7×) and MnPO (2×) compared to the control rats. However, diabetic rats had significantly fewer Fos-positive cells in the AH (0.3×) and no difference was observed in the PH between the diabetic and control rats. Despite the elevated number of Fos-positive cells in the diabetic rats, dehydration (water withdrawal for 24 h) or hypertonic challenge (1.5 ml of 0.1 M NaCl i.p. injection) produced a further increase in the number of Fos-positive cells in the PVN, SON and MnPO. Dehydration did not alter the number of Fos-positive cells in the AH or PH, but hypertonic challenge produced a significant increase in the Fos-positive cells in both the AH and PH of diabetic rats. This study demonstrates that: (1) there is increased basal neuronal activity in the PVN, SON and MnPO, a decrease in neuronal activity in the AH and no change in neuronal activity in the PH as indicated by Fos staining in diabetic rats; and (2) dehydration or hypertonic challenge produces a further increase in the number of Fos-positive cells in the PVN, SON, and MnPO which is comparable to control rats. These data support the conclusion that vasopressin producing neurons in the PVN and SON and autonomic areas within the lamina terminalis and hypothalamus are activated during diabetes and may contribute to the elevated levels of vasopressin and autonomic dysfunction during diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 29 2002



  • Diabetes
  • Fos
  • Hypothalamus
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Supraoptic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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