An immunohistochemical study of the GnRH neuron morphology and topography in the adult female rabbit hypothalamus
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The morphology and distribution of immunoreactive (GnRH) neural elements in the hypothalamus of the adult nulliparous female rabbit were examined. Approximately 1,000 GnRH cells (range 890-1136) were counted in the right half of the hypothalamus. Two distinct GnRH cell types were observed: GnRH cells with rough or spiny contours accounted for 64% of the total immunoreactive cells, and smooth-contoured cells represented 34% of the total. The majority of immunoreactive neural elements were found in the anterior hypothalamus. GnRH cells and processes were located primarily in the ventral and medial anterior hypothalamus forming an inverted V pattern. Processes were followed from the medial preoptic area and suprachiasmatic nucleus to the infundibular stem. Extrahypothalamic projections of GnRH cells were observed. Immunoreactive fibers were also found to contact the ependymal lining of the third ventricle. It is concluded that two morphologically distinct GnRH cell types exist and have a broad distribution in the rabbit hypothalamus. The functional significance of these cell types requires further study.
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