The distribution of neuropeptides has been useful in comparing neuronal aggregates of elasmobranchs with those in other vertebrates. The distribution of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-like immunoreactivity in the brain of the dogfish was examined with an antiserum to rat α-CGRP. Western blot analysis confirms that our antiserum recognizes a single peptide in the dogfish brain very similar to mammalian CGRP. CGRP-like immunoreactivity was located in discrete neuronal groups. CGRP-like-immunoreactive (CGRP-ir) neurons were found in the motor nuclei III, IV, V, VI, VII, IX, and X of the brainstem motor column and in the octavolateral efferent neurons. In the isthmal region, two groups of CGRP-ir neurons appeared in the parabrachial region and reticular substance. Three other CGRP-ir cell groups were observed in the mesencephalon: in the ventral tegmental area, in the substantia nigra, and one widely scattered but numerous population in superficial layers of the optic tectum. In the diencephalon, CGRP-ir cells were observed in the magnocellular preoptic nucleus and the organon vasculosum hypothalami. A population of CGRP-ir cells was also observed in the entopeduncular nucleus in the impar telencephalon. CGRP-ir fibers of central origin were widely distributed in the brain, but the most conspicuous areas were found in the ventral telencephalon, the hypothalamus, the mesencephalic lateral reticular area, and the dorsolateral isthmal region. The neurointermediate lobe of the hypophysis was also richly innervated by CGRP-ir fibers. CGRP-ir sensory fibers of cranial nerves IX and X and of dorsal spinal roots formed very conspicuous terminal fields in the lobus vagi and Cajal's nucleus commissuralis and in the dorsal region of the substantia gelatinosa, respectively. Comparison of the distribution of fibers and perikarya in dogfish and other vertebrates suggests that this CGRP-ir system has been well conserved during evolution.
- Substance P
- Motor nuclei