Article

Cephalochordate Nervous System

Simona Candiani and Mario Pestarino

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience


Published online February 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190264086 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264086.013.207

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  • Development of the Nervous System
  • Molecular and Cellular Systems
  • Invertebrate Neurobiology

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The central and peripheral nervous systems of amphioxus adults and larvae are characterized by morphofunctional features relevant to understanding the origins and evolutionary history of the vertebrate CNS. Classical neuroanatomical studies are mainly on adult amphioxus, but there has been a recent focus, both by TEM and molecular methods, on the larval CNS. The latter is small and remarkably simple, and new data on the localization of glutamatergic, GABAergic/glycinergic, cholinergic, dopaminergic, and serotonergic neurons within the larval CNS are now available. In consequence, it has been possible begin the process of identifying specific neuronal circuits, including those involved in controlling larval locomotion. This is especially useful for the insights it provides into the organization of comparable circuits in the midbrain and hindbrain of vertebrates. A much better understanding of basic chordate CNS organization will eventually be possible when further experimental data will emerge.

Keywords: cephalochordates; amphioxus; central nervous system; peripheral nervous system; evolution; comparative developmental neuroanatomy; neurotransmitters; locomotory control

Article.  10868 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System ; Molecular and Cellular Systems ; Invertebrate Neurobiology

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