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J Comp Neurol. 2001 Dec 10;441(2):91-105.

Catecholamine-containing cells in the central nervous system and periphery of Aplysia californica.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4H7.


Previous studies have suggested the presence of numerous catecholamine-containing cells in both the central ganglia and peripheral tissues of Aplysia, but they often offered conflicting or incomplete accounts of numbers, locations, and morphologies. The current study combines aldehyde-induced histofluorescence and tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity together with confocal microscopy to provide details of these cells. Approximately 35-50 neurones in the cerebral ganglia, 4-8 neurones in the pedal ganglia, 5 neurones in the buccal ganglia, and numerous small fibres in various nerve trunks exhibited both immunoreactivity and aldehyde-induced fluorescence. Approximately 20 cells in the pedal ganglia and 4 cells in the buccal ganglia exhibited only immunoreactivity whereas 15-20 neurons in the cerebral ganglia exhibited only aldehyde-induced fluorescence. No somata in the pleural or abdominal ganglia exhibited aldehyde-induced fluorescence or immunoreactivity. Both aldehyde-induced histofluorescence and immunoreactivity also labelled what appeared to be two classes of catecholamine-containing cells in the gill, siphon, oesophagus, rhinophore, tentacle, and reproductive organs. The more numerous, but smaller cells had subepithelial somata and processes penetrating the overlying body wall, thus suggesting a sensory function. Another class of neurones had larger somata, often located more deeply within the tissue, and occasionally appeared to be multipolar. Processes from these various peripheral cells appeared to comprise the major component of afferent fibres and to form an extensive peripheral plexus, often associated with various muscles. The morphologies of the peripheral cells thus suggest involvement in both local and centrally mediated reflexes and responses, but additional studies must test such hypothesised functions and determine the sensory modalities that the cells mediate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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