Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 265, Issue 1, pp 175–184 | Cite as

The catecholaminergic system of an annelid (Ophryotrocha puerilis, Polychaeta)

  • A. Schlawny
  • T. Hamann
  • M. A. Müller
  • H.-D. Pfannenstiel


The complex catecholaminergic (CA) nervous system of the polychaete Ophryotrocha puerilis is documented using glyoxylic acid induced fluorescence (GIF) and immunohistochemistry. CA-neurons are found both in the central and peripheral nervous system. In the brain, about 50 CA-neurons are present in the perikaryal layer together with numerous CA fibres. Two pairs of CA perikarya are characteristic for each ganglion of the ventral nerve cord. CA-neurites in the ventral nerve cord are mainly arranged in 4 strands paralleling the longitudinal axis of the worm. Fluorescent neurons with receptive ciliary structures are present in body appendages (antennae, palps, urites, parapodial cirri), in the body-wall, and within the oesophageal wall. Furthermore, a subepidermal nerve net of free CA nerve endings has been found. After incubation of specimens with dopamine prior to the development of GIF more fluorescent perikarya could be observed; the fluorescence was also intensified. Pre-incubation with reserpine reduced the intensity of GIF. Results of high pressure liquid chromatography and immunostaining with a polyclonal antibody against a dopamine-glutaraldehyde-complex suggest that dopamine is the major CA transmitter. It is thought that dopaminergic neurons together with ciliary receptive structures act as mechano- and/or chemoreceptors.

Key words

Nervous system Nervous system, peripheral Catecholamines Immunohistochemistry Glyoxylic acid fluorescence Ophryotrocha puerilis (Annelida) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Schlawny
    • 1
  • T. Hamann
    • 1
  • M. A. Müller
    • 1
  • H.-D. Pfannenstiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für ZoologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlin 33Federal Republic of Germany

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