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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol May 1, 2002; 132 (1): 269-74.
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Regulation of neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of Xenopus laevis.

Kramer BM , Song JY , Westphal NJ , Jenks BG , Roubos EW .

In the amphibian Xenopus laevis, suprachiasmatic melanotrope-inhibiting neurons (SMINs) play an important role in the regulation of the background adaptation process. In this study, we investigated the innervation of the SMINs at the light- and electron- microscopical level. Immunocytochemistry in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed co-existence of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and synaptobrevin in spots in the direct vicinity of the SMINs, suggesting the existence of NPY-containing synapses on these cells. At the ultrastructural level, the SMINs showed a high degree of plasticity, containing more electron-dense vesicles and a larger extent of RER in white- than in black-adapted animals. In black-adapted animals, symmetric synapses (Gray type II) were observed on the soma of the SMINs, suggesting an inhibitory input to these cells. The synaptic profiles contained electron-lucent and electron-dense vesicles, indicating the involvement of both a classical neurotransmitter and a neuropeptide (possibly NPY) in this input. In white-adapted animals, synapses were only found at some distance from the SMIN somata. Our findings indicate a striking plasticity of the innervation of the SMINs in relation to background adaptation and support the hypothesis that the SMINs are innervated by NPY-containing interneurons that inhibit SMIN activity in black-adapted animals.

PubMed ID: 11997228
Article link: Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: npy vamp1