The distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the brainstem of alpaca (Lama pacos) has been analysed using immunohistochemical methods. The following catecholaminergic cell nuclei have been detected: A1, C1, A2, C2 and area postrema in the medulla oblongata; A5, A6d, A7sc and A7d in the pons; as have several mesencephalic groups: A8, A9l, A9m, A9v, A9pc, A10, A10c, A10d and A10dc. This nuclear parcellation differs from that found in rodents, but agrees with the results reported in other members of the Artiodactyla order, such as giraffe or pig, and with the catecholaminergic distribution detected in species of other mammalian orders. Thus, these findings support the hypothesis that the animals included in the same order show the same nuclear complement in the neuromodulatory systems. In addition, it seems that other species share the same catecholaminergic groups as the alpaca, suggesting that a specific nuclear disposition was important and worth maintaining throughout evolution. Moreover, the distribution of TH has been compared with that of CGRP by double immunohistochemistry. Double-labelled neurons were very isolated and observed only in a few catecholaminergic groups: A1 and C2 in the medulla oblongata, A6d, A7sc and A7d in the pons, and A9l in the mesencephalon. However, interaction between TH and CGRP may be possible in more brainstem regions, particularly the area postrema. This interaction may prove important in the regulation of the specific cardiovascular control of alpacas given their morphological characteristics.
- Catecholaminergic cell groups
- Medulla oblongata