Seasonal vascular plasticity in the mediobasal hypothalamus of the adult ewe - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Histochemistry and Cell Biology Year : 2022

Seasonal vascular plasticity in the mediobasal hypothalamus of the adult ewe


Sheep, like most seasonal mammals, exhibit a cyclic adaptive reproductive physiology that allows ewes to give birth to their progeny during the spring when environmental conditions are favorable to their survival. This process relies on the detection of day length (or photoperiod) and is associated with profound changes in cellular plasticity and gene expression in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, mechanisms that are suggested to participate in the seasonal adaptation of neuroendocrine circuits. Recently, pituitary vascular growth has been proposed as a seasonally regulated process in which the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), a well-known angiogenic cytokine, is suspected to play a crucial role. However, whether this mechanism is restricted to the pituitary gland or also occurs in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH), a crucial contributor to the control of the reproductive function, remains unexplored. Using newly developed image analysis tools, we showed that the arcuate nucleus (ARH) of the MBH exhibits an enhanced vascular density during the long photoperiod or non-breeding season, associated with higher expression of VEGFA. In the median eminence (ME), a structure connecting the MBH to the pituitary gland, higher VEGFA, kinase insert domain receptor (KDR/VEGFR2) and plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein (PLVAP) gene expressions were detected during the long photoperiod. We also found that VEGFA and its receptor, VEGFR2, are expressed by neurons and tanycytes in both the ARH and ME. Altogether, these data show variations in the MBH vasculature according to seasons potentially through a VEGFA-dependent pathway, paving the way for future studies aiming to decipher the role of these changes in the hypothalamic control of seasonal reproduction.
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Dates and versions

hal-03746290 , version 1 (30-04-2024)



Pierre-Marie Chevillard, Martine Batailler, Benoit Piegu, Anthony Estienne, Marie-Claire Blache, et al.. Seasonal vascular plasticity in the mediobasal hypothalamus of the adult ewe. Histochemistry and Cell Biology, 2022, 157 (5), pp.581-593. ⟨10.1007/s00418-022-02079-z⟩. ⟨hal-03746290⟩
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