A Spinal Projection of 5-Hydroxytryptamine Neurons in the Lamprey Brainstem; Evidence from Combined Retrograde Tracing and Immunohistochemistry
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To investigate whether there is a descending contribution to the spinal 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) innervation in the lamprey, a primitive vertebrate, a study using retrograde transport of the fluorescent tracer Fast blue combined with 5-HT immunohistochemistry was conducted. Two to 4 weeks after an injection of Fast blue into the rostral spinal cord, retrogradely labelled cells were seen throughout the brainstem. Two groups of these cells, one within the posterior reticular nucleus of the rhombencephalon and another rostral to the trigeminal motor nucleus, were labelled after incubation with 5-HT antiserum. These findings suggest that in addition to the well-described local intraspinal 5-HT system, there is also, as in higher vertebrates, a descending 5-HT projection from the brainstem which extends at least 20 segments into the spinal cord.