Distribution of noradrenaline-immunoreactivity in the brain of the mormyrid teleost Gnathonemus petersii.

Research paper by J J Meek, H W HW Joosten, T G TG Hafmans

Indexed on: 01 Feb '93Published on: 01 Feb '93Published in: Journal of Comparative Neurology


The distribution of noradrenaline-immunoreactivity in the brain of the mormyrid fish Gnathonemus petersii was studied in order to evaluate the noradrenergic innervation of a number of specialized mormyrid brain regions, including electrosensory centers and a gigantocerebellum. Noradrenaline-immunoreactive (NAi) neurons occur in the hypothalamic paraventricular organ (PVO), the locus coeruleus, and the caudal rhombencephalon. In the PVO, NAi cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-contacting neurons are located in the same regions where dopamine- and serotonin-containing CSF contacting neurons occur. The locus coeruleus consists, on each side, of at least 30 rather large NAi neurons with ventrolaterally directed dendrites and dorsolaterally coursing axons. In the caudal rhombencephalon, NAi neurons are located in the transition region between the ventromedial motor zone and the dorsolateral sensory zone. The density of NAi fibers is very high in the efferent tract of the locus coeruleus, the medial forebrain bundle, and two telencephalic, one preoptic, and one rhombencephalic subependymal axonal plexus. A marked NAi innervation is present in the dorsomedial and ventral telencephalon, the preoptic region, periventricular hypothalamic and thalamic regions, the midbrain tectum, cerebellar granular layers, the electrosensory lateral line lobe, the rhombencephalic transition region between the sensory and motor zones, and the area postrema. Other regions are more sparsely innervated by NAi fibers, but regions completely devoid of NAi fibers were not observed. Interestingly, NAi fibers form large club endings in some subdivisions of the precerebellar nucleus lateralis valvulae, and parallel fibers in the cerebellar granular layer. Comparison with the distribution of NAi or dopamine-beta-hydroxylase-immunoreactivity in other species shows that all teleosts studied to date have noradrenergic cells in the locus coeruleus and the caudal rhombencephalon. However, NAi CSF-contacting PVO cells have been described only in the teleost Gnathonemus petersii and the lizard Gekko gecko (Smeets and Steinbusch: J. Comp. Neurol. 285:453-466, '89). It is possible that they might pick up catecholamines as well as serotonin from the CSF, into which monoamines might be released by telencephalic and preoptic subependymal axonal plexuses.