2020-10-21Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1002/cne.25058
Distribution of the cholinergic nuclei in the brain of the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus: Implications for sensory processing
Acetylcholine acts as a neurotransmitter/neuromodulator of many central nervous system processes such as learning and memory, attention, motor control, and sensory processing. The present study describes the spatial distribution of cholinergic neurons throughout the brain of the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus, using in situ hybridization of choline acetyltransferase mRNA. Distinct groups of cholinergic cells were observed in the telencephalon, diencephalon, mesencephalon, and hindbrain. These included cholinergic cell groups typically identified in other vertebrate brains, for example, motor neurons. Using both in vitro and ex vivo neuronal tracing methods, we identified two new cholinergic connections leading to novel hypotheses on their functional significance. Projections to the nucleus praeeminentialis (nP) arise from isthmic nuclei, possibly including the nucleus lateralis valvulae (nLV) and the isthmic nucleus (nI). The nP is a central component of all electrosensory feedback pathways to the electrosensory lateral line lobe (ELL). We have previously shown that some neurons in nP, TS, and tectum express muscarinic receptors. We hypothesize that, based on nLV/nI cell responses in other teleosts and isthmic connectivity in A. leptorhynchus, the isthmic connections to nP, TS, and tectum modulate responses to electrosensory and/or visual motion and, in particular, to looming/receding stimuli. In addition, we found that the octavolateral efferent (OE) nucleus is the likely source of cholinergic fibers innervating the ELL. In other teleosts, OE inhibits octavolateral hair cells during locomotion. In gymnotiform fish, OE may also act on the first central processing stage and, we hypothesize, implement corollary discharge modulation of electrosensory processing during locomotion.