The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and the periventricular nucleus (Pe) are important neuroendocrine centers, but the neuronal input to these regions is poorly defined in nonrodent species. We utilized the retrograde transport of injected tracers to determine the neural input to these two nuclei in the ovine brain. Adult Corriedale ewes were studied following FluoroGold injection into either the PVN (n = 5) or the Pe (n = 3). Both the PVN and the Pe were found to receive neuronal input from a number of hypothalamic nuclei. Projections to the PVN from the lateral hypothalamic area were from neurons that produce melanin-concentrating hormone or orexins and a subset of those from the arcuate nucleus were immunopositive for neuropeptide Y and γ-melanocyte stimulating hormone. This pathway was verified by staining of terminals in the PVN. Input to the PVN from the brain stem was seen to originate from the catecholaminergic and serotoninergic neurons. The projections to the PVN and Pe from hypothalamic and brain stem regions in the sheep brain are generally similar to those in the rat, with some minor differences. These studies highlight the differences in the afferent input to these two closely related nuclei in the ovine brain.

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