(1990b) Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase immunohistochemistry in the cat lower brainstem and midbrain

Author(s): Kitahama K, Denoyer M, Raynaud B, Borri-Voltattorni C, Weber M, et al


By indirect immunohistochemistry, the present study examined the distribution of neuronal structures in the cat medulla oblongata, pons, and midbrain, showing immunoreactivity to aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC), which catalyzes the conversion of L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) to dopamine, and 5-hydroxytryptophan to serotonin (5HT). With simultaneous and serial double immunostaining techniques, immunoreactivity to this enzyme was demonstrated in most of the catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons. We could also demonstrate AADC-IR cell bodies that do not contain tyrosine hydroxylase (TH-) or 5HT-immunoreactivity (called "D-type cells") outside such monoaminergic cell systems. At the medullo-spinal junction, very small D-type cells were found within and beneath the ependymal layer of the 10th area of Rexed surrounding the central canal. D-type cells were localized in the caudal reticular formation, nucleus of the solitary tract, a dorsal aspect of the lateral parabrachial nucleus, and pretectal areas as have been reported in the rat. Furthermore, the present study describes, in the cat brainstem, new additional D-type cell groups that have not been reported in the rat. Dense or loose clusters of D-type cells were localized in the external edge of the laminar trigeminal nucleus, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, external cuneate nucleus, nucleus praepositus hypoglossi, central, pontine, and periaqueductal gray, superficial layer of the superior colliculus, and area medial to the retroflexus. D-type cells were loosely clustered in the lateral part of the central tegmental field dorsal to the substantia nigra, extending dorsally in the medial division of the posterior complex of the thalamus and medial side of the brachium of the inferior colliculus. They extended farther rostrodorsally along the medial side of the nucleus limitans and joined with the pretectal cell group. Almost all these cells were very small and ovoid to round with 1-2 short processes with the exception of dorsal motor vagal cells. AADC-IR axons were clearly identified in the vagal efferent nerves, longitudinal medullary pathway, dorsal tegmental bundle rostral to the locus coeruleus. Serotonergic axons were identified not only in the central tegmentum field and lateral side of the central superior nucleus, but also in the ventral surface of the medulla oblongata. We describe principal densely stained fiber plexuses in the cat brainstem. The findings of the present study provide a morphological basis for neurons that decarboxylate endogenous and exogenous L-DOPA, 5HTP, and other aromatic L-amino acids.

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