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Immunocytochemical and ultrastructural evidence for a neurophysinergic innervation of the subcommissural organ of the snake Natrix maura

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The subcommissural organ (SCO) of the snake Natrix maura was studied by use of the immunoperoxidase procedure. Primary antisera against bovine neurophysins (Nps I + II, OXY-Np), oxytocin (OXY), mesotocin (MST), arginine-vasotocin (AVT), somatostatin (SOM), β-endorphin (END) and bovine Reissner's fiber were used. A conventional ultrastructural study, with special emphasis on the nerve fibers present in the SCO, was also performed. Nerve fibers containing immunoreactive OXY-Np and MST were seen to reach the SCO. The staining of adjacent sections with the anti-Reissner's fiber serum showed that the OXY-Np- and MST-immunoreactive fibers were distributed among the cell bodies and processes of the ependymal secretory cells. No fibers containing immunoreactive OXY, AVT, SOM or END were found in the SCO. The ultrastructural analysis revealed in the SCO the presence of nerve fibers filled with electron-dense granules, 170–210 nm in diameter. Although a direct apposition between these fibers and the SCO cells was frequently seen, no synaptic differentiations were identified. Structures identical to the Herring bodies (found in the neurohypophysis) were seen in the SCO.

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Author information

Correspondence to Prof. Pedro Fernández-Llebrez.

Additional information

This work was partially supported by Grants 1/38259 from the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, Federal Republic of Germany, and S-85-39 from the Dirección de Investigaciones, Universidad Austral de Chile, conceded to Esteban M. Rodríguez

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Fernández-Llebrez, P., Pérez, J., Cifuentes, M. et al. Immunocytochemical and ultrastructural evidence for a neurophysinergic innervation of the subcommissural organ of the snake Natrix maura . Cell Tissue Res. 248, 473–478 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00218215

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Key words

  • Subcommissural organ
  • Innervation
  • Neu rophysins
  • Mesotocin
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Ultrastructure
  • Snake, Natrix maura