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The anatomical organization of African Mormyrids' brain is a clear example of departure from the average brain morphotype in teleosts, probably related to functional specialization associated to electrosensory processing and sensory-motor coordination. The brain of Mormyrids is characterized by a well-developed rhombencephalic electrosensory lobe interconnected with relatively large mesencephalic torus semicircularis and optic tectum, and a huge and complex cerebellum. This unique morphology might imply cell addition from extraventricular proliferation zones up to late developmental stages. Here we studied the ontogeny of these brain regions in Mormyrus rume proboscirostris from embryonic to adult stages by classical histological techniques and 3D reconstruction, and analyzed the spatial-temporal distribution of proliferating cells, using pulse type BrdU labeling. Brain morphogenesis and maturation progressed in rostral-caudal direction, from 4day old free embryos, through larvae, to juveniles whose brain almost attained adult morphological complexity. The change in the relative size of the telencephalon, and mesencephalic and rhombencephalic brain regions suggest a developmental shift in the relative importance of visual and electrosensory modalities. In free embryos, proliferating cells densely populated the lining of the ventricular system. During development, ventricular proliferating cells decreased in density and extension of distribution, constituting ventricular proliferation zones. The first recognizable one was found at the optic tectum of free embryos. Several extraventricular proliferation zones were found in the cerebellar divisions of larvae, persisting along life. Adult M. rume proboscirostris showed scarce ventricular but profuse cerebellar proliferation zones, particularly at the subpial layer of the valvula cerebelli, similar to lagomorphs. This might indicate that adult cerebellar proliferation is a conserved vertebrate feature. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Milka Radmilovich, Isabel Barreiro, Leticia Iribarne, Kirsty Grant, Frank Kirschbaum, María E Castelló. Post-hatching brain morphogenesis and cell proliferation in the pulse-type mormyrid Mormyrus rume proboscirostris. Journal of physiology, Paris. 2016 Oct;110(3 Pt B):245-258

PMID: 27888101

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