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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Feb 15;404(3):297-309.

Development of catecholaminergic neurons in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis: II. Postembryonic development of central and peripheral cells.

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


Catecholamines have long been thought to play important roles in different mollusc neural functions. The present study used glyoxylate- and aldehyde-induced histofluorescence to identify central and peripheral catecholaminergic neurons in the snail Lymnaea stagnalis. The majority of these cells were also found to react to antibodies raised against tyrosine hydroxylase. A minority of the catecholaminergic neurons, however, exhibited no such immunoreactivity. The number of central catecholaminergic neurons nearly doubled (from about 45 to about 80 cells) during the first 2-3 days of postembryonic development. Thereafter, catecholaminergic neurons again doubled in number and generally grew by about 100-200% in soma diameter as the snails grew by 1,000% in overall linear measurements. In contrast to the relatively meager addition of central catecholaminergic neurons, several thousand catecholaminergic somata were added to different peripheral tissues during postembryonic development. These small, centrally projecting neurons were particularly concentrated in the lips, esophagus, anterior margin of the foot, and different regions of the male and female reproductive tracts. Chromatographic analyses indicated that dopamine was the major catecholamine present in the central ganglia, foot, and esophagus, although detectable levels of norepinephrine (approximately 20% of dopamine levels) were also found in the ganglia. The total content but not the concentration of dopamine increased within the tissue samples during postembryonic development. The companion study (Voronezhskaya et al. [1999] J. Comp. Neurol. 404:285-296) and the present study furnish a complete description of central and peripheral catecholaminergic neurons from their first appearance in early embryonic development to adulthood.

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