TitleNeuroanatomical distribution of vasotocin and mesotocin in two urodele amphibians (Plethodon shermani and Taricha granulosa) based on in situ hybridization histochemistry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHollis, DM, Chu, J, Walthers, EA, Heppner, BL, Searcy, BT, Moore, FL
JournalBrain Research
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Previous research suggests that considerable species-specific variation exists in the neuroanatomical distributions of arginine vasotocin (AVT) and mesotocin (MST), non-mammalian homologues of vasopressin and oxytocin. An earlier study in rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) indicated that the neuroanatomical distribution of cells labeled for AVT-immunoreactivity (ir) was greater in this urodele amphibian than in any other species. It was unknown whether the widespread distribution of AVT-ir is unique to T granulosa or a feature common among salamanders. Using in situ hybridization (ISH) histochemistry and gene-specific riboprobes, the current study labeled AVT and MST mRNA in T granulosa and the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani). In T granulosa, AVT ISH-labeled cells were found to be widespread and localized in brain areas including the dorsal and medial pallium, lateral and medial septum, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, amygdala, preoptic area, ventral hypothalamus, nucleus isthmus, tectum mesencephali, inferior colliculus, and hindbrain. In P. shermani, the distribution of AVT ISH-labeled neurons matched that of T granulosa, except in the lateral septum, ventral hypothalamus, and inferior colliculus, but did however include labeled cell bodies in the lateral pallium. The distribution of MST ISH-labeled cells was more restricted than AVT ISH labeling and was limited to regions of the preoptic area and ventral thalamus, which is consistent with the limited distribution of MST/OXY in other vertebrates. These findings support the conclusion that urodele amphibians possess a well-developed vasotocin system, perhaps more extensive than other vertebrate taxa. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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