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J Comp Neurol. 2008 Mar 20;507(3):1441-63. doi: 10.1002/cne.21634.

Distribution of glycine immunoreactivity in the brain of adult sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Comparison with gamma-aminobutyric acid.

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Departamento de Biología Celular y Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain.

Erratum in

  • J Comp Neurol. 2008 May 10;508(2):382-4.


The distribution of glycinergic cells in the brain of nonmammalian vertebrates is still unknown. Lampreys are the most primitive extant vertebrates, and they may provide important data on the phylogeny of this system. Here, we studied for the first time the distribution of glycine immunoreactivity in the sea lamprey brain and compared it with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic populations. Most glycine-immunoreactive neurons were found at midbrain and hindbrain levels, and most of these cells did not exhibit GABA immunoreactivity. We describe glycine-immunoreactive cell populations in the olfactory bulbs, the preoptic nucleus, and the thalamus of the sea lamprey, which is in striking contrast to their lack in the mammalian forebrain. We also observed glycine-immunoreactive populations in the optic tectum, the torus semicircularis and the midbrain tegmentum, the isthmus, the octavolateral area, the dorsal column nucleus, the abducens nucleus, the trigeminal motor nucleus, the facial motor nucleus, and the rhombencephalic reticular formation. In these populations, colocalization with GABA was observed in only some cells of the tegmental M5 nucleus, ventral isthmus, medial octavolateral nucleus, dorsal column nucleus, and lateral reticular region. The present results allow us to conclude that the distribution of glycine-immunoreactive cells changed notably from lamprey to mammals, with a decrease in glycinergic populations in the forebrain and a specialization of brainstem cell groups. Although knowledge of the glycinergic populations in lampreys is important for understanding the early evolution of this system, there is a notable gap of information regarding its organization in brains of other nonmammalian vertebrates.

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