A correlative radioimmunoassay (RIA) and immunocytochemical (ICC) study was carried out on vasopressin (VP) distribution and content in brains of normal and 3-day water-deprived rats. By RIA there were statistically significant differences in brain VP per pg/mg between normal and osmotically stressed specimens in hypothalamus (338.4 versus 134.4), thalamus (4.8 versus 0.9), septum (18.0 versus 3.4), striatum (1.6 versus 0.7) and amygdala (17.3 versus 1.3), but not in other brain regions measured. Pituitary VP decreased from 71.1 to 8.7 ng/mg, and plasma VP rose from 3.6 to 19.3 pg/ml during water deprivation. Application of the peroxidase-anti-peroxidase ICC method of Sternberger to vibratome sections showed that VP-immunoreactivity in dehydrated specimens decreased in perikarya of paraventricular nucleus and suprachiasmatic nucleus, while intrahypothalamic immunoreactive magnocellular fibers appeared more conspicuous due to proliferation of large Herring bodies. In extrahypothalamic sites VP-immunoreactivity in water-deprived rats was visibly reduced in periventricular thalamus and septum. Thus it is apparent that both intra- and extrahypothalamic VP are affected by osmotic stress, and these results are discussed within the context of current ideas relating to co-activation of neurosecretory cells that project to different sites.
- Osmotic stress