Polymorphisms of the gene TCF7L2 (transcription factor 7-like 2) are strongly associated with the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. TCF7L2 is important in the development of peripheral organs such as adipocytes, pancreas, and the intestine. However, very little is known about its expression elsewhere. In this study we used in situ hybridization histochemistry to show that TCF7L2 has a unique expression pattern in the mouse brain. TCF7L2 is expressed in two distinct populations. First, it is highly expressed in thalamic and tectal structures. Additionally, TCF7L2 mRNA is expressed at moderate to low levels in specific cells of the hypothalamus, preoptic nucleus, and circumventricular organs. Collectively, these patterns of expression suggest that TCF7L2 has distinct functions within the brain, with a general role in the development and maintenance of thalamic and midbrain neurons, and then a distinct role in autonomic homeostasis.
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