Distribution of central catecholaminergic neurons: a comparison between ungulates, humans and other species

  • Yves Tillet
  • K. Kitahama
Keywords: catecholamine, central nervous system, domestic mammals, primates


In ungulates and primates, the distribution of central catecholaminergic neurons identified using antibodies raised against catecholamine synthesizing enzymes and catecholamines themselves, shows many differences if compared to rats. Catecholaminergic neurons are more loosely clustered in ungulates and primates than in rat. In the medulla oblongata, the density of noradrenergicladrenergic neurons is lower in ungulates than in other species and, particularly in sheep, the adrenergic group C1 is not observed. The noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus are present in a larger area in ungulates than in rodents. In the hypothalamus, the density of dopamine neurons is lower in ungulates and primates than in rodents. In the rostra1 hypothalamus of ungulates, the dorsal part of the group A14 is missing, and these species present only the ventral part of the group A15. In primates the group A15 extends into the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei which have large tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-IR) neurons not observed in other species. In addition, in all studied species, not all cells expressing catecholamine synthesizing enzymes also express catecholamines, as found in some TH-IR neurons in the arcuate nucleus, thereby demonstrating the necessity of using different markers to ascertain the true catecholaminergic nature of labeled neurons. These anatomical differences between species show the difficulty in extrapolating the distribution of catecholamine neurons from one species to another and may be related to adaptative physiological differences between mammals.
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