Neuropeptide Y mRNA expression in interneurons in rat spinal cord
Neuropeptide Y (NPY)-immunoreactive axons are present within the spinal cord. Some of these axons originate from neurons in the brainstem. Other axons arise from within the spinal cord since NPY-immunoreactivity can be detected after complete spinal cord transection. To identify spinal neurons that might express NPY, we localized NPY mRNA in rat spinal cord using in situ hybridization histochemistry. NPY mRNA-containing neurons were localized in the dorsal horn, in medial laminae of the grey matter and in the lateral spinal nucleus in thoracic, lumbar and sacral cord. The location of some of these neurons, and their proximity to sympathetic preganglionic neurons, suggest some NPY-containing interneurons are likely to be involved in spinal as well as supraspinal autonomic reflex pathways.