, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 227–246 | Cite as

Architecture of the nervous system in two Dactylopodola species (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida)

Original Paper


Immunohistochemical stainings have become standard tools to describe the nervous system, but usually only singular or few markers are used and consequently show only subsets of neurons within the nervous system. We investigated two species of Dactylopodola (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida) with a broad set and combination of markers, to represent the nervous system in a more holistic approach. We suggest that markers for both neurotubuli (tubulin) and neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin, FMRF-amides, histamine) should be used. Combinations with markers for the musculature (phalloidin) and nuclei (propidiumiodide or other markers) help to reveal spatial patterns and when used with TEM can provide a more precise picture of the spatial relationships of particular nerves. Species of Dactylopodola have a brain consisting of a solid dorsal commissure and a fine ventral commissure. Cell somata of brain cells are arranged lateral to the dorsal commissure and form a dumbbell-like brain. Additionally, projections into the head region, head sensory organs, one pair of lateroventral nerve cords with three commissures and stomatogastric nerves are described. Obviously, some longitudinal transmitter-specific fibres run in parallel to the main longitudinal nerve and represent additional longitudinal fibres. In comparison with the nervous system architecture of other gastrotrich species and that of different bilaterian animals it is speculated that the gastrotrich nervous system retains several ancestral features, such as being commissural and not a compact brain.


Gastrotricha Nervous system Immunohistochemistry cLSM Ultrastructure Serotonin Tubulin FMRFamides Histamine Evolution 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary BiologyUniversity BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Zoological Museum and Biocenter GrindelUniversity HamburgHamburgGermany

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