Correlation between dopaminergic phenotype and expression of calretinin in the midbrain nuclei of the opossum (Monodelphis domestica): an immunohistological study
Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis
We investigated distribution and morphology of neurons of the midbrain nuclei: the ventral tegmental area (VTA), substantia nigra (SN) and periaqueductal gray (PAG) of the adult grey short-tailed opossums that were double immunolabeled for the presence of calretinin (CR) and/or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). The majority of TH-immunopositive neurons and fibers were located in the VTA, SN, and only scarce population of small neurons expressing TH was present in the PAG. In the SN 80 percent of
... 80 percent of TH-expressing neurons had large cell bodies, and only a small fraction had small perikarya. In the PAG populations of large and medium sized neurons were equal and 20 percent of neurons had small perikarya. Much scarcer population of TH-immunoreactive neurons in the PAG consisted of large or small neurons in its dorsal part (PAGd) and almost exclusively small neurons in the ventral part (PAGv). Distribution of neurons expressing TH and their types in the opossum are similar to those in rodents. The majority of CR-immunolabeled neurons were found in the VTA. In its subdivision, the parabrachal pigmented nucleus (PBP) cells expressing CR were approximately 28 percent more numerous than cells expressing TH. In spite of that, only 42 percent of TH-expressing neurons coexpressed CR. The high degree of colocalization TH and CR was observed in the SN. We propose that a higher percentage of TH/CR colocalization, which is observed in the opossums SN, may give them the ability to adapt to changes in their motor functions.