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Keywords:

  • GAP-43;
  • B-50;
  • F1;
  • pp46;
  • GAP-48;
  • 5-HT;
  • Macaca fascicularis;
  • cat;
  • raphe nuclei;
  • spinal cord;
  • ventral horn;
  • immunofluorescence;
  • in situ hybridization;
  • electron microscopy

Abstract

By use of a monoclonal antibody, the distribution of growth-associated protein (GAP)-43-like immunoreactivity (LI) has been studied in the spinal cord of adult grey monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) and adult cats by use of immunofluorescence and peroxidase-antiperoxidase techniques. The brainstem was also studied with in situ hybridization histochemistry. In both monkeys and cats, a dense innervation of GAP-43-immunoreactive (IR) fibres was seen in close apposition to large cell bodies and their processes in the motor nucleus of the ventral horn. Double-labelling experiments revealed a high degree of coexistence between GAP-43- and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin)-LI in the monkey motor nucleus, while in the cat no such colocalization could be verified. At the electron microscopic level, GAP-43 labelling was seen as a coating of vesicles and axolemma inside the terminals. In both monkey and cat, cell bodies expressing mRNA encoding GAP-43 were demonstrated in the medullary midline raphe nuclei. A similar location was also encountered for mRNA for aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase, an enzyme found in both catecholamine- and serotonin-containing neurons. The present results suggest that GAP-43 is present in the 5-HT bulbospinal pathway of the monkey. In the cat, GAP-43 mRNA-expressing cell bodies were demonstrated in areas where descending 5-HT neurons are located, but no convincing colocalization of 5-HT- and GAP-43-LI was found at spinal cord levels, despite the existence of extensive fibre networks containing either of the two compounds. Possible explanations for this species discrepancy are discussed. The function of GAP-43 in nerve terminals impinging on the motoneurons is unknown. However, it may play a role in transmitter release and/or plasticity, since such roles have been proposed for this protein in other systems.