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J Comp Neurol. 1993 May 15;331(3):407-17.

Spinal and facial innervation of the skin in the gadid fish Ciliata mustela (Teleostei).

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Konrad-Lorenz-Forschungsstelle für Ethologie, Grünau, Austria.


The pattern of innervation of the skin of the rockling Ciliata mustela was investigated to sort out spinal from facial nerve innervation of cutaneous chemosensory and mechanosensory systems. This fish has a variety of appendages with different functional sensory specializations, i.e., the chin barbel, pelvic fin, anterior dorsal fin, and dorsal trunk skin. The carbocyanine dye, diI, was applied to nerve stumps in dissected aldehyde-fixed tissue. In the case of the chin barbel, the dye was applied to both the trigeminal and facial nerve components. In the other cases, the dye was applied either selectively to the spinal nerves, to the facial nerves, or to both components. In the chin barbel, diI labeled nerve fibers associated with taste buds (TBs) and solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs) as well as relatively blunt free nerve endings, which closely approach the epidermal surface. In the pelvic fin, anterior dorsal fin, and dorsal trunk skin, taste buds, solitary chemosensory cells, and their innervation were labeled only after diI was applied to the facial nerve stumps. Application of diI to spinal nerves labeled delicate, free nerve endings and nerve fibers associated with small cells deep in the epidermis with features characteristic of Merkel cells. Transmission electron microscopy supports these results; after denervation of the facial component of the anterior dorsal fin, synaptic contacts with Merkel cells remained intact, whereas the synapses with the SCCs vanished.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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