Origin and development of descending catecholaminergic pathways to the spinal cord in amphibians.
SourceBrain Research Bulletin, 57, 3-4, (2002), pp. 325-330
Article / Letter to editor
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Brain Research Bulletin
SubjectPathophysiology of Brain and Behaviour; Pathofysiologie van Hersenen en Gedrag
The origin and development of the supraspinal catecholaminergic (CA) innervation of the spinal cord was studied in representative species of the three amphibian orders (Anura: Xenopus laevis and Rana perezi; Urodela: Pleurodeles waltl; Gymnophiona: Dermophis mexicanus). Using retrograde dextran amine tracing in combination with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunohistochemistry, we showed that only four brain centers contribute to the CA innervation of the adult spinal cord: (1) the ventrolateral component of the posterior tubercle, (2) the periventricular nucleus of the zona incerta, (3) the locus coeruleus, and (4) the nucleus of the solitary tract (except for gymnophionans). The pattern observed is largely similar in all amphibian species studied. The development of the CA innervation of the spinal cord was studied with in vitro double labeling methods in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. At stage 40/41, the first CA neurons projecting to the spinal cord were found to originate in the posterior tubercle. At stage 43, spinal projections were found from the periventricular nucleus of the zona incerta and the locus coeruleus, whereas spinal projections from the nucleus of the solitary tract were not observed before stage 53. These results demonstrate a temporal sequence in the appearance of the CA cell groups projecting to the anuran spinal cord, organized along a rostrocaudal gradient.
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