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Maria Thereza Perez

Senior Lecturer

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Localization of enkephalinergic neurons in the central nervous system of the salmon (Salmo salar L.) by in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry


  • E Vecino
  • M T Perez
  • P Ekström

Summary, in English

The distribution of neurons expressing preproenkephalin (PPE) mRNA in the brain of the salmon was investigated by means of non-radioactive in situ hybridization, and directly compared with the distribution of enkephalin-immunoreactive (ENKir) neurons. This approach, utilized here for the first time in a non-mammalian vertebrate for the identification of neurons containing opioid peptides, permitted a detailed analysis of the distribution of putative enkephalinergic neurons in the salmon brain. Several cell groups containing neurons that express PPE mRNA also contain ENKir neurons. Such cell groups are located in the ventral telencephalic area, the nucleus of the rostral mesencephalic tegmentum and another nucleus immediately dorsal to it, the torus semicircularis, the valvula cerebelli and the corpus cerebelli. These cell groups consistently contain larger numbers of PPE mRNA expressing cells than ENKir ones. Some cell groups express PPE mRNA, but do not contain ENKir neurons. These cell groups are located in the dorsal telencephalic area, the inferior lobes of the hypothalamus, the pretectal area, the magnocellular superficial pretectal nucleus, the optic tectum, the oculomotor nucleus, the trochlear nucleus, the magnocellular vestibular nucleus, the secondary gustatory nucleus, the superior and medial reticular nuclei, the motor nucleus of the vagus and the ventral horn of the spinal cord. Moreover, some cell groups contain ENKir neurons, but no PPE mRNA expressing neurons. These cell groups are located in the ventromedial thalamic nucleus, the lateral tuberal nucleus, the nucleus of the lateral recess and the nucleus of the posterior recess. The majority of these periventricular ENKir neurons were of the cerebrospinal fluid-contacting type. ENKir neurons were also located in the dorsal lateral tegmental nucleus and in area B9. The results also permitted a tentative identification of enkephalinergic neurons afferent to the optic tectum, that have previously not been identified with immunocytochemistry, located in the dorsal telencephalic area, as well as enkephalinergic neurons intrinsic to the tectum that may contribute to the laminar arrangement of ENKir fibers in the optic tectum.


  • Ophthalmology, Lund
  • Functional zoology

Publishing year







Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy





Document type

Journal article




  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System
  • Cobalt
  • Enkephalins
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Lysine
  • Neurons
  • Protein Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Salmon
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't




  • ISSN: 0891-0618