The caudal neurosecretory complex (CNc) of poecilids has previously been shown to receive serotonergic inputs. In the present study, immunohistochemical techniques were applied at the light and electron microscopic levels to characterize serotonergic terminals in the neuroendocrine nucleus. A dense plexus of varicose fibers observed in the rostral CNc neuropil was absent in the spinal cords of deafferented fish, indicating that the origin of this input was extranuclear. Ultrastructural study revealed no direct contacts between labeled structures and neuroendocrine cells. Non-synaptic terminals (varicosities) were the predominantly labeled structures in the neuropil. Synaptic terminals were observed on cellular and axonal targets in the CNc. Small cells containing 70 nm dense-core vesicles received serotonergic input on their perikarya. Labeled synapses were also found on unlabeled axon terminals which made axoaxonal synapses on neuroendocrine processes. Non-synaptic terminals may be responsible for a variety of serotonin-mediated effects in the CNc. Synaptic interactions with local catecholaminergic and afferent cholinergic inputs to the CNc are likely.
- Caudal Neurosecretory Complex