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J Comp Neurol. 2003 Jul 14;462(1):1-14.

Putative isotocin distributions in sonic fish: relation to vasotocin and vocal-acoustic circuitry.

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Psychology Department, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093, USA.


Recent neurophysiological evidence in the plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) demonstrated that isotocin (IT) and arginine vasotocin (AVT) modulate fictive vocalizations divergently between three reproductive morphs. To provide an anatomical framework for the modulation of vocalization by IT and to foster comparisons with the distributions of the IT homologues mesotocin (MT) and oxytocin (OT) in other vertebrate groups, we describe putative IT distributions in the midshipman and the closely related gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta. Double-label fluorescent histochemistry was used for IT and AVT (by using antibodies for MT, OT, and the mammalian AVT homologue, arginine vasopressin [AVP]). MT/OT-like immunoreactive (MT/OT-lir) cell groups were found in the anterior parvocellular, posterior parvocellular, and magnocellular preoptic nuclei. MT/OT-lir fibers and putative terminals densely innervated the ventral telencephalon and numerous areas in the hypothalamus and brainstem. These distributions included all sites of vocal-acoustic integration recently identified for the forebrain and midbrain and diencephalic components of the ascending auditory pathway. Results were qualitatively comparable across morphs, species, and seasons. In contrast to the widespread distribution of MT/OT-lir, AVP-lir somata, fibers, and putative terminals were almost completely restricted to vocal-acoustic regions. These data parallel previous descriptions of AVT immunoreactivity in these species, although the present methods showed a previously undescribed, seasonally variable AVP-lir cell group in the anterior tuberal hypothalamus, a vocally active site and a component of the ascending auditory pathway. These findings provided anatomic support for the role of IT and AVT in the modulation of vocal behavior at multiple levels of the central vocal-acoustic circuitry.

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