The Antiquity of Monoaminergic Neurotransmitters: Evidence from Cnidaria

  • Michel Anctil
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 188)


When wrestling with the issue of the origin of nervous systems and their associated messenger molecules, conventional wisdom has historically dictated that one should look at coelenterates for experimental models (Robson, 1975; Anderson and Schwab, 1982). However, recent molecular approaches to constructing phytogenies suggest that Cnidaria evolved from a protist ancestor, along a line separate from that leading to other multicellular animals (Field et al., 1988). Regardless of the eventual “pedigree” of ancestral Cnidaria that may emerge from these analyses, it is still reasonable to view their nervous system as the most ancient, having evolved some 600 to 700 million years ago. The search for monoamine transmitters and their mechanisms of action in Cnidaria should be envisaged with that perspective in mind.


Myoepithelial Cell Immunoreactive Neuron Rhythmic Contraction Monoaminergic System Bipolar Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Anctil
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de Sciences Biologiques and Centre de Recherche en Sciences NeurologiquesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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