Indexed on: 03 Apr '12Published on: 03 Apr '12Published in: Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a substance found in many tissues of the body, including as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system, where it can exert different post-synaptic actions. Inside the neuro-axis, 5-HT neurons are almost entirely restricted to the raphe nuclei of the brainstem. As such, 5-HT-immunoreactivity has been considered a marker of the raphe nuclei, which are located in the brainstem, at or near the midline. The present study investigated distribution of serotonergic neurons in the brain of the rock cavy (Kerodon rupestris), a rodent species inhabiting the Brazilian Northeast. The cytoarchitectonic location of serotonergic neurons was established through a series of 5-HT immunostained sections, compared with diagrams obtained from adjacent coronal and sagittal sections stained by the Nissl method. The following nuclei were defined: the rostral group, consisting of rostral linear raphe, caudal linear raphe, median and paramedian raphe, dorsal raphe, and pontine raphe nuclei, and the caudal group composed of raphe magnus, raphe pallidus and raphe obscurus nuclei. Other serotonergic neuronal clusters, such as the supralemniscal group and the rostral and caudal ventrolateral medulla oblongata clusters, were found outside the midline. Rare 5-HT-producing neurons were identified in the lateral parabrachial nucleus and in the pontine reticular formation, mostly along fibers of the lateral lemniscus. Despite exhibiting some specializations, the picture outlined for serotonergic groups in the rock cavy brain is comparable to that described for other mammalian species.