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Brain Behav Evol. 2000 Dec;56(6):310-22.

Proliferation zones in the adult brain of a sequential hermaphrodite teleost species (Sparus aurata).

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Department of Biology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


Teleost sex change is an important model to understand general principles of sexual differentiation and plasticity in the adult brain. The present study is the first to examine the proliferation zones in the adult brain of males, females and sex-changing individuals of a protandrous teleost species (Sparus aurata), by means of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine immunocytochemistry. Postnatal neurogenesis in the marine teleost brain was found in ventricular and subventricular areas of the brain that in most cases coincided with the embryonic proliferation zones. The molecular layer of corpus and valvula cerebelli exhibited the highest mitotic activity in the adult brain. High mitotic activity was observed in the hypothalamic, thalamic and telencephalic ventricular areas, as well as the dorsal and ventral rim of the optic tectum. Most of the labeled cells were elongated, indicating the initiation of migratory activity. There were no qualitative differences in the distribution of proliferation zones between the sex phases studied with the exception of the ventricular region of the dorsal hypothalamic area. Volume fraction analysis of the area occupied by the labeled cells suggested that this region included higher densities of newborn cells in the female animals. The proliferation pattern in the adult gilthead sea bream brain is in agreement with the hypothesis of the continuous generation of new cells in the teleost brain. Moreover, our data propose that cell proliferation differences possibly existing in the ventricular region of the dorsal hypothalamus between sexual phases, might be involved in central mechanisms of sexual plasticity in protandrous hermaphrodite teleosts.

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