Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Identifiable nitrergic neurons in the central nervous system of the nudibranch Melibe leonina localized with NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry and nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity


Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous intercellular messenger produced by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). In this study, we used two different techniques—nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) histochemistry and NOS immunocytochemistry—to demonstrate that NOS is present in a pair of identifiable cells in the central nervous system of the nudibranch Melibe leonina. In the Melibe brain, NADPH-d histochemistry revealed only a single pair of bilaterally symmetrical cells in the cerebropleural ganglia. NOS activity also was found in the neuropil of the cerebral, pedal, and buccal ganglia; in the tentacles of the oral hood; in the sensory end of the rhinophores; and in the epithelial tissue of the mouth, preputium, and glans penis. Immunocytochemistry using NOS antisera corroborated the results of the NADPH-d histochemistry by staining the same two cells in the cerebropleural ganglia. Each of these identifiable nitrergic neurons projects into the ipsilateral pedal ganglion. Because the pedal ganglia play a critical role in the control of locomotion, our results provide morphological evidence suggesting that NO may influence swimming or crawling in Melibe leonina.


Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, Biological Sciences

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Journal of Comparative Neurology



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© 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.