The distribution of serotonin in the CNS of an Elasmobranch fish: immunocytochemical and biochemical studies in the Atlantic Stingray, Dasyatis sabina.
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The distribution of serotonin (5 HT) in the brain of the Atlantic stingray was studied with peroxidase-antiperoxidase immunocytochemistry and high-pressure liquid chromatography. The regional concentrations of 5HT determined for this stingray fell within the range of values previously reported for fishes. A consistent trend in vertebrates for the hypothalamus and midbrain to have the highest concentrations and the cerebellum the lowest was confirmed in stingrays. Neuronal cell bodies and processes exhibiting 5HT like immunoreactivity were distributed in variable densities throughout the neuroaxis system in the Atlantic stingray: (I) spinal cord, (II-IV) rhombencephalon, (V,VI) mesencephalon, (VII, VIII) prosencephalon, (IX) pituitary, and (X) retina. There were three noteworthy features of the 5HT system in the Atlantic stingray: (1) 5HT cells were demonstrated in virtually every location in which 5HT-containing cells have been described or alluded to in the previous literature. The demonstration of immunopositive cells in the spinal cord, the retina, and the pars distalis of the pituitary suggests that 5HT may be an intrinsic neurotransmitter (or hormone) in these regions. (2) The distribution of 5HT cells in the brainstem shared many similarities with that in other vertebrates. However, there were many 5HT cells outside of the raphe nuclei, in the lateral tegmentum. It appears that the hypothesis that lateralization of the 5HT system is an advanced evolutionary trend cannot be supported. (3) 5HT fibers and terminals were more widely distributed in the Atlantic stingray brain than has been reported for other nonmammalian vertebrates on the basis of histofluorescence. It appears that this feature of the 5HT system arose early in phylogeny, and that the use of immunohistochemistry might reveal a more general occurrence of widespread 5HT fibers and terminals.