Identification of motoneurons in the spinal cord of the zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio), with special reference to motoneurons that innervate intermediate muscle fibers

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1990;182(1):93-102. doi: 10.1007/BF00187531.


We investigated the location and size distribution of motoneurons that innervate red, intermediate and white muscle fibers in the axial musculature of the zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio). Motoneurons were identified by retrograde labeling from the respective myotomal compartments with horseradish peroxidase applied either in small polyacrylamide gel fragments or as pure crystals. We found a spatial relationship between the three myotomal muscle fiber types and the corresponding motoneurons. The white motoneurons are grouped in the dorsal part of the motorcolumn, near the central canal. Motoneurons of the red and intermediate muscle are clustered in the ventral part of the motorcolumn. The average position of the red motoneurons is ventral to that of the intermediate motoneurons. Some sizes are distributed over wide overlapping ranges, spanning from 41 to 352 microns 2 for red and intermediate and from 56 to 894 microns 2 for white motoneurons. These data are discussed in relation to the recruitment order of myotomal muscle fibers of different types as revealed by electromyographic recordings in fish, and the so called "size principle" for motoneuron recruitment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Efferent Pathways
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Neurons, Efferent*
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology*