Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 162, Issue 4, pp 511–524 | Cite as

Identification of the teleost Edinger-Westphal nucleus by retrograde horseradish peroxidase labeling and by electrophysiological criteria

  • John C. Wathey


A homolog of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus of other vertebrates is described in two species of serranid basses of the genusParalabrax, a group possessing a wide range of ocular accommodation but lacking a pupillary reflex to light. The nucleus was found by retrograde labeling from the ciliary ganglion and lies dorsolateral to the ipsilateral oculomotor nucleus. The nucleus consists of 60 to 100 neurons with an average soma diameter of about 20 Μm in animals weighing 70 to 150 g. Electrophysiological experiments support the identification. Microstimulation of the nucleus evokes contraction of the ipsilateral lens retractor muscle and slight constriction of the caudal ipsilateral iris. Multi- and single-unit recordings in the nucleus reveal spontaneous firing (about 30 spikes/s in single units), the rate of which decreases during visually-evoked lens retractor relaxations (accommodation to near stimuli). Recordings of muscle fiber activity in the lens retractor show essentially the same behavior, which suggests that the ciliary ganglion and neuromuscular junctions simply relay impulses with little if any synaptic integration. The existence of a discrete Edinger-Westphal nucleus devoted largely to accommodation makesParalabrax a good model system for the further tracing of central accommodation control pathways.


Retrograde Label Retractor Muscle Good Model System Oculomotor Nucleus Ciliary Ganglion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



central nervous system


Edinger-Westphal nucleus


horseradish peroxidase


wheat germ agglutinin


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Wathey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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