Central GABAergic innervation of neurointermediate pituitary lobe: biochemical and immunocytochemical study in the rat.


Activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase GluDCase, the biosynthetic enzyme of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was measured in low-speed homogenate supernatant of the neural and intermediate (neurointermediate) lobe (28--30 pmol of CO2 per microgram of protein per hr) and of the anterior lobe (2--4 pmol of CO2 per microgram of protein per hr). In the neurointermediate lobe, stalk transection reduced the GluDCase activity by more than 95%. By using an antiserum to rat brain GluDCase and the unlabeled antibody--peroxidase method of Sternberger, GluDCase immunoreactivity was localized in many terminals within the neurointermediate lobe of the hypophysis. In pars intermedia, immunoreactive terminals occurred in apposition to secretory cells and to glial cells and were near nonimmunoreactive axonal profiles; in pars neuralis they were apposed to pituicytes and to unlabeled axons including the neurosecretory terminals and were along fenestrated portal capillaries. GluDCase immunoreactive axons terminals exhibited diverse morphological features and would not have been identified as a distinct population without the GluDCase antiserum. No GluDCase-immunoreactivity was found in the anterior pituitary lobe. Stalk transection abolished GluDCase immunoreactivity in the neurointermediate lobe. These data provide biochemical and morphological evidence for a central GABAergic innervation of neural and intermediate lobes of the hypophysis.

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