Brains of kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka kennerlyi) in one of four reproductive stages (sexually immature, maturing, sexually mature, and spawning) were stained with cresyl violet and silver stain to visualize neurodegeneration. These reproductive stages correlate with increasing somatic aging of kokanee salmon, which die after spawning. Twenty-four regions of each brain were examined. Brains of sexually immature fish exhibited low levels of neurodegeneration, whereas neurodegeneration was more marked in maturing fish and greatest in spawning fish. Neurodegeneration was present in specific regions of the telencephalon, diencephalon, mesencephalon, and rhombencephalon. Pyknotic neurons were observed in all regions previously reported to be immunopositive for A beta. Regions that did not exhibit neurodegeneration during aging included the magnocellular vestibular nucleus, the nucleus lateralis tuberis of the hypothalamus, and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, all of which also lack A beta; perhaps these regions are neuroprotected. In 14 of 16 brain areas for which data were available on both the increase in A beta deposition and pyknosis, neurodegeneration preceded or appeared more or less simultaneously with A beta production, whereas in only two regions did A beta deposition precede neurodegeneration. This information supports the hypothesis that A beta deposition is a downstream product of neurodegeneration in most brain regions. Other conclusions are that the degree of neurodegeneration varies among brain regions, neurodegeneration begins in maturing fish and peaks in spawning fish, the timing of neurodegeneration varies among brain regions, and some regions do not exhibit accelerated neurodegeneration during aging.
Copyright 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.