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Keywords:

  • marsupial;
  • olfactory bulb;
  • vomeronasal organ;
  • medial septal nucleus

Abstract

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) was detected by immunocytochemical procedures in cells and fibers in the brain and in the nervus terminalis of the adult and neonatal gray, short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica). As in several species of eutherian mammals, LHRH-immunoreactive cells and fibers were seen in the medial septal nuclei, nucleus, and tract of the diagonal band and olfactory tubercle. Surprisingly, few LHRH-immunoreactive cells were found in the hypothalamus or in the preoptic area in either the adult or neonate. LHRH-immunoreactive fibers were seen in these regions and were numerous in the median eminence.

The nervus terminalis in the gray opossum showed several distinctive characteristics. Immunoreactive and nonreactive cells, in ganglia along the fascicles of LHRH fibers and frequently lay adjacent to blood vessels. No LHRH-immunoreactive branches of the nervus terminalis were found in contact with the vomeronasal nerves as they traversed the medial surfaces of the main olfactory bulbs en route to the accessory olfactory bulbs. The LHRH-immunoreactive fibers in the central roots of the nervus terminalis formed a compact bundle on either side of midline, which coursed obliquely from clusters of ganglion cells on the ventromedial surface of the olfactory bulbs into the septum. Traced through serial sagittal sections, LHRH-immunoreactive fibers, in continuity with those in the triangular nucleus of the septum, ran down and around the rostal face of the anterior commissure and fanned out into the medial preoptic area.

As previously observed in the fetal guinea pig and rat, LHRH was detected in ganglion cells of the nervus terminalis of the newborn gray opossum preceding its detection in any other area of the brain.