Abstract

Immunohistofluorescence studies of the rat central nervous system with antibodies to Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2 (molluskan cardioexcitatory peptide) revealed a widespread neuronal system in the brain, spinal cord, and posterior pituitary. Immunoreactive axons and cell bodies were mainly located in cortical, limbic, and hypothalamic areas. Immunostaining of serial sections of the brain and pituitary showed that the Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2 immunoreactive neurons were different from neurons labeled by antibodies to either Met-enkephalin or the putative Met-enkephalin precursor Tyr-Gly-Gly-Phe-Met-Arg-Phe, which is structurally related to Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2. Control staining by antiserum absorption and radioimmunoassay indicated that the antibodies that caused the specific immunofluorescence recognized peptides with an amidated Arg-Phe sequence at the carboxyl terminus.

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