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Distribution of choline acetyltransferase immunoreactivity in the alimentary tract of the barnacleBalanus amphitrite(Cirripedia, Crustacea)

Authors
Journal
Neuroscience Letters
0304-3940
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
409
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2006.09.050
Keywords
  • Alimentary Tract
  • Balanus Amphitrite
  • Barnacle
  • Choline Acetyltransferase
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract To date only peptidergic innervation has been described in the alimentary tract of barnacles. In the present work the presence and distribution of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the acetylcholine (ACh) synthesizing enzyme, was investigated by immunohistochemistry in the alimentary tract of the adult barnacle Balanus amphitrite. Numerous ChAT-immunoreactive (IR) cells and a net of ChAT-IR cytoplasmic processes were localized inside the epithelium of the posterior midgut, close to the basement membrane; no IR nerve endings were detected in the midgut longitudinal and circular muscle bundles. Epithelial neurons or endocrine cells in the gut epithelium have been described in some invertebrate species belonging to different taxa and their peptidergic features are reported in the literature. Our results point out the presence of neuroepithelial cells also in the gut epithelium of barnacles; moreover, for the first time, a cholinergic feature is suggested for this cell type. These data seem to indicate the involvement of ACh in the gut functions of barnacle and suggest that the barnacle alimentary tract is more complex than previously thought and requires further study.

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