Tanycytes are highly specialized ependymal cells that line the bottom and the lateral walls of the third ventricle. In contact with the cerebrospinal fluid through their cell bodies, they send processes into the arcuate nucleus, the ventromedial nucleus and the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. In the present work, we combined transgenic and immunohistochemical approaches to investigate the neuroanatomical associations between tanycytes and neural cells present in the hypothalamic parenchyma, in particular in the arcuate nucleus. The specific expression of tdTomato in tanycytes first allowed the observation of peculiar subcellular protrusions along tanycyte processes and at their endfeet such as spines, swelling, en passant boutons, boutons or claws. Interestingly, these protrusions contact different neural cells in the brain parenchyma including blood vessels and neurons, and in particular NPY and POMC neurons in the arcuate nucleus. Using both fluorescent and electron microscopy, we finally observed that these tanycyte protrusions contain ribosomes, mitochondria, diverse vesicles, and transporters, suggesting dense tanycyte/neuron and tanycyte/blood vessel communications. Altogether, our results lay the neuroanatomical basis for tanycyte/neural cell interactions, which will be useful to further understand cell-to-cell communications involved in the regulation of neuroendocrine functions.
- PMID: 32515035
- DOI: 10.1002/cne.24965
Keywords: Arcuate neurons; Electron microscopy; Fluorescence microscopy; Glia-Neuron communication; Hypothalamus; Tanycytes.