Cocaine- and amphetamineregulated transcript (CART) is one of the most abundant neuropeptides in vagal afferents, including those involved in regulating feeding. Recent observations indicate that metabolic challenges dramatically alter the neuropeptidergic profile of CARTproducing vagal afferents. Here, using confocal microscopy, we reassessed the distribution and regulation of CART(55–102) immunoreactivity in vagal afferents of the male mouse in response to metabolic challenges, including fasting and high-fatdiet feeding. Importantly, the perikarya and axons of vagal C-fibers were labeled using mice expressing channelrodhopsin- 2 (ChR2-YFP) in Nav1.8-Cre–expressing neurons. In these mice, approximately 82% of the nodose ganglion neurons were labeled with ChR2-YFP. Furthermore, ChR2-YFP–labeled axons could easily be identified in the dorsovagal complex. CART(55–102) immunoreactivity was observed in 55% of the ChR2-YFP–labeled neurons in the nodose ganglion and 22% of the ChR2-YFP–labeled varicosities within the area postrema of fed, fasted, and obese mice. The distribution of positive profiles was also identical across the full range of CART staining in fed, fasted, and obese mice. In contrast to previous studies, fasting did not induce melaninconcentrating hormone (MCH) immunoreactivity in vagal afferents. Moreover, prepro-MCH mRNA was undetectable in the nodose ganglion of fasted mice. In summary, this study showed that the perikarya and central terminals of vagal afferents are invariably enriched in CART and devoid of MCH.
- Vagus nerve
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