Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a neuropeptide first discovered in the quail brain that is involved in the control of reproductive physiology and behaviors, and stress response. GnIH gene encodes a second peptide, GnIH-related peptide-2 (RP2), the distribution and function of which remain unknown. We therefore studied GnIH-RP2 distribution by immunohistochemistry using a novel antibody capable of discriminating between GnIH and GnIH-RP2. The overall distribution of GnIH-RP2 is similar to that of GnIH. The vast majority of labeled neurons is located in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. Labeling of fibers is conspicuous in the diencephalon, but present also in the mesencephalon and telencephalon. Several regions involved in the control of reproduction and stress response (the PVN, septum, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and nucleus commissura pallii) showed a dense network of immunolabeled fibers. To investigate the potential function of GnIH-RP2 we compared its expression in two quail lines genetically selected for divergence in their emotional reactivity. A quantitative analysis in the above-mentioned brain regions showed that the density of fibers was similar in the two lines. However, the number of GnIH-RP2 labeled neurons was higher in the median portion of the PVN in birds with higher emotional reactivity. These results point to a possible involvement of GnRH-RP2 in modulating stress response and/or emotional reactivity.
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