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Phylogeny of putative cholinergic visual pathways through the pretectum to the hypothalamus in teleost fish

Brain Behav Evol 36: 14-29

Authors/Editors: Wullimann MF
Meyer DL
Publication Date: 1990
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 1976 - 2000
Three patterns of pretectal organization can be discerned morphologically in teleosts. The taxonomic distribution of these pretectal patterns suggests that the intermediately complex pattern (seen in most teleost groups) has given rise to both the elaborate pattern (seen in percomorphs) and the simple pattern (seen in cyprinids). Two pretectal patterns (intermediately complex and elaborate) form part of similar, homologous visual pathways to the hypothalamus; the third pattern is involved in a nonhomologous pathway to the hypothalamus. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemistry was used in the present study in order to characterize these pretectal patterns further. It is demonstrated that AChE is a highly selective and reliable interspecific marker for all divisions of the superficial pretectum, the nucleus corticalis, the posterior pretectal nucleus (or nucleus glomerulosus) and portions of the inferior lobe. Therefore, the histochemical data support the hypothesis of a homology between the three patterns of pretectal organization in teleosts. Furthermore, the present data provide a basis for more specific investigations regarding the involvement of acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter within the visual pathways to the hypothalamus in teleosts.

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