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Modification of ultrastructural and neurochemical parameters in synaptosomes of the retino-deprived goldfish optic tectum

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Neurochemical parameters associated with cholinergic and excitatory amino acid transmission, were measured in synaptosomes of the goldfish optic tectum at different times after unilateral eye ablation. Significant decreases in choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase were measured 12 and 30 days after enucleation. The high affinity choline uptake did not parallel the decrease in cholinergic enzymes. Instead there was a significant increase of the uptake per unit of protein (though not relative to the total number of tectal synaptosomes). No decrease of the high affinity D-3H aspartate uptake was measured in the deafferentated optic tectum. Electron microscopic observations showed a correspondence between the time course of cholinergic enzyme decrease and the degeneration of retinal afferents to the tectum. The present results support the notion that acetylcholine is a better candidate than the excitatory amino acids for a neurotransmitter role in the fish optic tectum.

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Correspondence to A. Contestabile.

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Supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Education

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Contestabile, A., Munarini, A., Bissoli, R. et al. Modification of ultrastructural and neurochemical parameters in synaptosomes of the retino-deprived goldfish optic tectum. Exp Brain Res 62, 560–566 (1986).

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Key words

  • Optic tectum
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Cholinergic markers
  • Ultrastructure
  • Goldfish