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The distribution of melanin-concentrating hormone in the lamprey brain

Bird, D.J., Potter, I.C., Sower, S.A. and Baker, B.I. (2001) The distribution of melanin-concentrating hormone in the lamprey brain. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 121 (3). pp. 232-241.

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In addition to its novel, colour-regulating hormonal role in teleosts, the melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) serves as a neuromodulatory peptide in all vertebrate brains. In gnathostome vertebrates, it is produced in several neuronal cell groups in the hypothalamus. The present work examines the organisation of the MCH system in the brain of lampreys, which separated from gnathostome vertebrates at an early stage in evolution. In all three lamprey genera examined - Petromyzon, Lampetra, and Geotria spp. - MCH perikarya were found in one major anatomical site, the periventricular dorsal hypothalamic nucleus of the posterior hypothalamus. Axons from these cell bodies projected medially into the ventricular cavity, and laterally to the neuropile of the lateral hypothalamus. From here, they extended anteriorly and posteriorly to the fore- and hindbrain. Other fibres extended dorsomedially to the habenular nucleus. In Lampetra, but not in Petromyzon, MCH fibres were seen in the pituitary neurohypophysis, most prominantly above the proximal pars distalis. The hypothalamic region in which the MCH perikarya are found forms part of the paraventricular organ (PVO), which is rich in monoamines and other neuropeptides. The association of MCH neurones with the PVO, which occurs also in many other nonmammalian vertebrates, may reflect the primary location of the MCH system. These MCH neurones were present in ammocoetes, postmetamorphic juveniles, and adults. They were more heavily granulated in adults than in young lampreys but showed no marked change in secretory appearance associated with metamorphosis or experimental osmotic challenge to indicate a role in feeding or osmoregulation. In sexually maturing Lampetra fluviatilis, however, a second group of small MCH neurones became detectable in the telencephalon, suggesting a potential role in reproduction and/or behaviour.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Publisher: Academic Press Inc.
Copyright: © 2001 Academic Press
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