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J Chem Neuroanat. 2010 Nov;40(3):210-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2010.05.007. Epub 2010 Jun 4.

Nuclear organization of cholinergic, putative catecholaminergic and serotonergic systems in the brains of five microchiropteran species.

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  • 1School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abstract

The current study describes, using immunohistochemical methods, the nuclear organization of the cholinergic, catecholaminergic and serotonergic systems within the brains of five microchiropteran species. For the vast majority of nuclei observed, direct homologies are evident in other mammalian species; however, there were several distinctions in the presence or absence of specific nuclei that provide important clues regarding the use of the brain in the analysis of chiropteran phylogenetic affinities. Within the five species studied, three specific differences (presence of a parabigeminal nucleus, dorsal caudal nucleus of the ventral tegmental area and the absence of the substantia nigra ventral) found in two species from two different families (Cardioderma cor; Megadermatidae, and Coleura afra; Emballonuridae), illustrates the diversity of microchiropteran phylogeny and the usefulness of brain characters in phylogenetic reconstruction. A number of distinct differences separate the microchiropterans from the megachiropterans, supporting the diphyletic hypothesis of chiropteran phylogenetic origins. These differences phylogenetically align the microchiropterans with the heterogenous grouping of insectivores, in contrast to the alignment of megachiropterans with primates. The consistency of the changes and stasis of neural characters with mammalian phylogeny indicate that the investigation of the microchiropterans as a sister group to one of the five orders of insectivores to be a potentially fruitful area of future research.

2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20566329
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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