Comparative anatomy of the histaminergic and other aminergic systems in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Jan Kaslin, Pertti Panula

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The histaminergic system and its relationships to the other aminergic transmitter systems in the brain of the zebrafish were studied by using confocal microscopy and immunohistochemistry on brain whole-mounts and sections. All monoaminergic systems displayed extensive, widespread fiber systems that innervated all major brain areas, often in a complementary manner. The ventrocaudal hypothalamus contained all monoamine neurons except noradrenaline cells. Histamine (HA), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and serotonin (5-HT) -containing neurons were all found around the posterior recess (PR) of the caudal hypothalamus, TH- and 5-HT-containing neurons were found in the periventricular cell layer of PR, whereas the HA-containing neurons were in the surrounding cell layer as a distinct boundary. Histaminergic neurons, which send widespread ascending and descending fibers, were all confined to the ventrocaudal hypothalamus. Histaminergic neurons were medium in size (@O 12 μm) with varicose ascending and descending ipsilateral and contralateral fiber projections. Histamine was stored in vesicles in two types of neurons and fibers. A close relationship between HA fibers and serotonergic raphe neurons and noradrenergic locus coeruleus neurons was evident. Putative synaptic contacts were occasionally detected between HA and TH or 5-HT neurons. These results indicate that reciprocal contacts between monoaminergic systems are abundant and complex. The results also provide evidence of homologies to mammalian systems and allow identification of several previously uncharacterized systems in zebrafish mutants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-377
Number of pages36
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Locuscoeruleus
  • Noradrenaline
  • Raphe nucleus
  • Serotonin
  • Tuberomammillary nucleus

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