The Melanin-Concentrating Hormone (MCH) is a nonadecapeptide located mainly in neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA), which innervate several regions of neuraxis. MCH is involved in many functions as reproduction, aspects of motived behaviors, motor activity, sensorial information, temperature control, memory, learning, anxiety, sleep-wake cycle and feeding behavior in which the MCH plays an orexigenic role. The energy consumption in aging is reduced as well as, the expression of MCH presents alterations associated with age. Therefore, we intend to analyze the variations in the expression of MCH at different ages in the lateral hypothalamic area. In this study, thirty-five animals will be divided in 7 experimental groups of 14, 28, 50, 90, 180, 540 e 750 days. All the animals will be perfused via the ascending aorta, the brains will be collected and processed by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization protocols to analyze the expression of MCH in the lateral hypothalamic area. The estimation of MCH- immunoreactive neurons and the study of their distribution in the lateral hypothalamic area will be realized by using stereology and 3D reconstruction. Furthermore, we will perform a comparative analysis of quantity of mRNA for MCH between ages by measuring the optical density of labeled soma after in situ hybridization. Therefore, this work will contribute to knowledge about the expression and distribution of MCH in the hypothalamic area, discussing possible roles for MCH in physiologic and pathologic processes associated with aging.
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