Comparative distribution of neuropeptide-immunoreactive systems in the brain of the green molly, Poecilia latipinna

T. F C Batten, M. L. Cambre, L. Moons, F. Vandesande

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The comparative distribution of peptidergic neural systems in the brain of the euryhaline, viviparous teleost Poecilia latipinna (green molly) was examined by immunohistochemistry. Topographically distinct, but often overlapping, systems of neurons and fibres displaying immunoreactivity (ir) related to a range of neuropeptides were found in most brain areas. Neurosecretory and hypophysiotrophic hormones were localized to specific groups of neurons mostly within the preoptic and tuberal hypothalamus, giving fibre projections to the neurohypophysis, ventral telencephalon, thalamus, and brain stem. Separate vasotocin (AVT)-ir and isotocin (IST)-ir cells were located in the nucleus preopticus (nPO), but many AVT-ir nPO neurons also displayed growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF)-like-ir, and in some animals corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF)-like-ir. The main group of CRF-ir neurons was located in the nucleus recessus anterioris, where coexistence with galanin (GAL) was observed in some cells. Enkephalin (ENK)-like-ir was occasionally present in a few IST-ir cells of the nPO and was also found in small neurons in the posterior tuberal hypothalamus and in a cluster of large cells in the dorsal midbrain tegmentum. Thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH)-ir cells were found near the rostromedial tip of the nucleus recessus lateralis. Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-ir cells were present in the nucleus olfactoretinalis, ventral telencephalon, preoptic area, and dorsal midbrain tegmentum. Molluscan cardioexcitatory peptide (FMRF-amide)-ir was colocalized with GnRH-ir in the ganglion cells and central projections of the nervus terminalis. Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)-ir neurons were restricted to the tuberal hypothalamus, mostly within the nucleus lateralis tuberis pars lateralis, and somatostatin (SRIF)-ir neurons were numerous throughout the periventricular areas of the diencephalon. A further group of SRIF-ir neurons extending from the ventral telencephalon into the dorsal telencephalon pars centralis also contained neuropeptide Y (NPY)-, peptide YY (PYY)-, and NPY flanking peptide (PSW)-like-ir. These immunoreactivities were, however, also observed in non-SRIF-ir cells and fibres, particularly in the mesencephalon. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-like-ir had a characteristic distribution in cells grouped in the isthmal region and fibre tracts running forward into the hypothalamus, most strikingly into the inferior lobes. Antisera to cholecystokinin (CCK) and neurokinin A (NK) or substance P (SP) stained very extensive, separate systems throughout the brain, with cells most consistently seen in the ventral telencephalon and periventricular hypothalamus. Broadly similar, but much more restricted, distributions of cells and fibres were seen with antisera to neurotensin (NT) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). Although in most cases the exact chemical natures of the immunoreactive substances are unknown, the results suggest that many peptides related to those proposed as neurotransmitters in the mammalian nervous system are present in specific neuronal systems in the teleost fish brain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-919
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • central nervous system
  • immunohistochemistry
  • teleost fish


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