In this study the effect of gonadectomy and steroid treatment on the dorsal component of the incertohypothalamic dopamine system or nucleus A13 was assessed by immunocytochemistry using an antibody raised to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). A computer graphic system interfaced to a microscope was used to count and measure the diameters of TH-positive neurons and display the data in the three-dimensional space of the nucleus. In males, castration resulted in a dramatic decrease in the reaction product representative of TH. The number of TH-positive cells in the A13 DA nucleus decreased to 25% of intact levels. In females, ovariectomy also caused an impressive loss in the TH-immunostainable material, but this was not indicated by a change in the total number of TH-positive neurons. In both sexes the loss in TH immunostain was confined mainly to the mid-portion of the nucleus. Hormone treatment restored the TH immunostain (cell number and size) to and/or above intact levels in both sexes. These data suggest that A13 TH immunostain is stimulated by gonadal steroids in male and female rats.

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