Journal of Neuro-Visceral Relations

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 11–25 | Cite as

Innervation and fluorescence histochemistry of monoamines in the pineal organ of a snake (Natrix natrix)

  • W. B. Quay
  • J. Ariëns Kappers
  • J. F. Jongkind


We studied microscopically in serial sections the pinealin situ in brain tissue blocks from 27 specimens of adult snakes of the speciesNatrix natrix. A median, dorsal meningeal fascicle of nerve fibers appeared to be the primary and most consistent source of the pineal's innervation. By the Hillarp-Falck technique these fibers were shown to be catecholamine-containing (green-fluorescing) and to give rise to a rich intrapineal fiber system coursing primarily in the stromal channels along the blood vessels but also giving off branches into or on the parenchymal lobules. Basally, the pineal's stalk was seen to vary in its size and composition. Its variable, mostly small, non-fluorescent and contorted nerve fiber content could be largely followed to the region of the posterior commissure. It was thought that these fibers could possibly be connected with this region, and to be without necessarily any functional significance as pineal innervation is concerned. Further investigation of the exact origin and course of the fibers is, however, needed.

The pineal parenchymal cells were found to be yellow-fluorescing, in line with biochemical evidence for the presence of 5-hydroxytryptamine. Increase and generality of distribution of the yellow parenchymal fluorescence followed when animals were injected with iproniazid, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

The pineal of snakes as typified byNatrix natrix appears to be at least supperficially similar and evolutionarily convergent with respect to the pineal of some mammals in regard to morphology, innervation and distribution of catecholamines and 5-hydroxytryptamine.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. B. Quay
    • 1
  • J. Ariëns Kappers
    • 1
  • J. F. Jongkind
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Institute for Brain ResearchAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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