Evolutionary changes of astroglia in Elasmobranchii comparing to Amniotes: A study based on three immunohistochemical markers (GFAP, S-100, and glutamine synthetase)

Csilla Ari, Mihály Kálmán

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This paper supplements former studies on elasmobranch species with an immunohistochemical investigation into glutamine synthetase and S-100 protein, in addition to GFAP, and extends its scope to the representatives of almost every group of Elasmobranchii: squalomorph sharks, galeomorph sharks, skates (Rajiformes) and rays (Torpediniformes and Myliobatifomes). More glial elements were labeled by S-100 protein, and even more so by using glutamine synthetase immunostaining than by GFAP: more astrocytes (mainly non-perivascular ones) were detected in the telencephalon of sharks, skates and rays. Only the markers S-100 and glutamine synthetase, but not GFAP, characterized the Bergmann-glia of skates and rays and astrocyte-like non-ependymal cells in Squalus acanthias. Another squalomorph shark species, Pristiophorus cirratus, however, had GFAP immunopositive astrocytes. Of all the species studied, the greatest number of GFAP positive astrocytes could be observed in Mobula japanica (order Myliobatiformes), in each major brain part. According to anatomical location, perivascular glia comprised varied types, including even a location in Mobula, which can also be found in mammals. Remnants of radial glia were found in confined areas of skates, less so in rays. In the rhombencephalon and in the spinal cord modified ependymoglia predominated in every group. In conclusion, there was no meaningful difference between the astroglial architectures of squalomorph and galeomorph sharks. The difference in the astroglial structure between sharks and batoids, however, was confined to the telencephalon and mesencephalon, and did not take place in the rhombencephalon, the latter structure being quite similar in all the species studied. The appearance of astrocytes in the relatively thin-walled shark telencephalon, however, indicates that the brain thickening promoted the preponderance of astrocytes rather than their appearance itself. Although the evolutionary changes of astroglia had some similarities in Elasmobranchii and Amniota, there was one meaningful difference: in Elasmobranchii astrocytes did not prevail in conservative brain regions as they did in the progressive brain regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-324
Number of pages20
JournalBrain, behavior and evolution
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2008



  • Astrocytes
  • Astroglia
  • Cartilaginous fish
  • GFAP
  • Glutamine synthetase
  • Ray
  • S-100 protein
  • Shark
  • Tanycytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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