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Neuroscience. 2013 Dec 3;253:304-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.08.047. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Olfacto-retinalis pathway in Austrolebias charrua fishes: a neuronal tracer study.

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  • 1Neuroanatomía Comparada, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable (IIBCE), Avenida Italia 3318, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay. Electronic address:


The olfacto-retinal centrifugal system, a constant component of the central nervous system that appears to exist in all vertebrate groups, is part of the terminal nerve (TN) complex. TN allows the integration of different sensory modalities, and its anatomic variability may have functional and evolutionary significance. We propose that the olfacto-retinal branch of TN is an important anatomical link that allows the functional interaction between olfactory and visual systems in Austrolebias. By injecting three different neuronal tracers (biocytin, horseradish peroxidase, and 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI)) in the left eye of Austrolebias charrua fishes, we identified the olfacto-retinal branch of TN and related neuronal somas that were differentiable by location, shape, and size. The olfacto-retinal TN branch is composed of numerous thin axons that run ventrally along the olfactory bulb (OB) and telencephalic lobes, and appears to originate from a group of many small monopolar neurons located in the rostral portion of both the ipsi- and contralateral OB (referred to as region 1). Labeled cells were found in two other regions: bipolar and multipolar neurons in the transition between the OB and telencephalic lobes (region 2) and two other groups in the preoptic/pretectal area (region 3). In this last region, the most rostral group is constituted by monopolar pear-shaped neurons and may belong to the septo-preoptic TN complex. The second group, putatively located in the pretectal region, is formed by pseudounipolar neurons and coincides with a conserved vertebrate nucleus of the centrifugal retinal system not involved in the TN complex. The found that connections between the olfactory and visual systems via the olfacto-retinal TN branch suggest an early interaction between these sensory modalities, and contribute to the identification of their currently unknown circuital organization.

Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate; 3′,3′-diaminobenzidinetetrahydrochloride; Austrolebias; CB; DAB; DIC; DiI; GnRH; HRP; OB; ON; PB; PFA; Po; Pr; TL; TN; TO; TV; Tel; Teld; Telv; centrifugal innervation; cerebellum; differential interference contrast; dorsal telencephalon; gonadotropin-releasing hormone; horseradish peroxidase; neuronal tracing; olfactory bulb; optic nerve; paraformaldehyde; phosphate-buffer; preoptic area; pretectal area; tectum opticum; telencephalic ventricle; telencephalon; terminal nerve; torus longitudinalis; ventral telencephalon

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