Development of catecholaminergic neurons in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis: I. Embryonic development of dopamine-containing neurons and dopamine-dependent behaviors

Elena E. Voronezhskaya, László Hiripi, Károly Elekes, Roger P. Croll

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The embryonic development of the catecholaminergic system of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, was investigated by using chromatographic and histochemical methods. High performance liquid chromatography suggested that dopamine was the only catecholamine present in significant concentrations throughout the embryonic development of Lymnaea. Dopamine first became detectable at about embryonic stage (E) 15 (15% of embryonic development) and then increased in amount during early development to reach about 120-140 fmol per animal by around E40. Dopamine content remained stable during mid- embryogenesis (E40-65), increased slowing for the next couple of days, and then increased rapidly to culminate at about 400 fmol per animal by hatching. The detection of aldehyde- and glyoxylate-induced fluorescence and of tyrosine hydroxylaselike immunoreactivity indicated that the first catecholaminergic cells appeared in the late trochophore or early veliger stage of embryonic development (E32-35). The paired perikarya of these transient apical catecholaminergic (TAC) neurons were located beneath the apical plate, remained outside of the central ganglia during embryogenesis, and no longer contained detectable catecholamines close to hatching. TAC neurons bore cilia on the ends of short processes that penetrated the overlying epithelium; their long processes branched repeatedly under the ciliated apical plate. Several smaller catecholaminergic cells first appeared in the anterior margin of the foot at a stage when the embryos began to metamorphose from the veliger form (E55). Similar bipolar cells later appeared in the tentacle and lips. The axons of all of these small peripheral cells projected centrally and terminated within the neuropil of different central ganglia. Central catecholaminergic neurons, including RPeD1, differentiated only after metamorphosis was complete (E75). Development of locomotor, respiratory, and feeding behaviors correlated with maturation of catecholaminergic neurons, as indicated by histology and chromatography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 1999



  • Gastropod
  • Mollusc
  • Monoamine
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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