Brain neurons which project to the spinal cord in young larvae of the zebrafish

J Comp Neurol. 1982 Feb 20;205(2):112-27. doi: 10.1002/cne.902050203.


A small number of brain neurons project to caudal levels of the spinal cord in the larva of the teleost Brachydanio rerio. These cells were identified in animals 6 days after fertilization by backfilling with horseradish peroxidase following transection of the cord at the level of the cloaca. In preparations with the most labeled cells a total of 30-40 were present on each side of the midline. They were located within three regions of the brainstem: the midbrain nucleus of origin of the medial longitudinal fascicle (mlf), the hindbrain reticular formation, and the hindbrain vestibular nucleus. A total of 15 classes of cells could be distinguished by soma positions, dendritic fields, and axonal pathways. For some of these classes only one or two cells were usually present on each side of the brain. Most of the labeled cells contributed axons to the mlf ipsilateral to the soma; however, the Mauthner cells and three new types of hindbrain reticulospinal reticulospinal cells have decussating axons that enter the contralateral mlf. The observed distribution of labeled reticulospinal cells is similar to that previously described for large reticular cells in adult teleosts and to the system of identified Mauthner and Müller cells in the lamprey.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Efferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology*
  • Lampreys / anatomy & histology
  • Reticular Formation / anatomy & histology
  • Reticular Formation / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Vestibular Nuclei / anatomy & histology
  • Vestibular Nuclei / cytology