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The present study was focused on the morphology of the diencephalic nuclei (likely involved in reproductive functions) as well as on the distribution of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in the rhinencephalon, telencephalon and the diencephalon of the brain of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) by means of immunohistochemistry. Bluefin tuna has an encephalization quotient (QE) similar to that of other large pelagic fish. Its brain exhibits well-developed optic tecta and corpus cerebelli. The diencephalic neuron cell bodies involved in reproductive functions are grouped in two main nuclei: the nucleus preopticus-periventricularis and the nucleus lateralis tuberis. The nucleus preopticus-periventricularis consists of the nucleus periventricularis and the nucleus preopticus consisting of a few sparse multipolar neurons in the rostral part and numerous cells closely packed and arranged in several layers in its aboral part. The nucleus lateralis tuberis is located in the ventral-lateral area of the diencephalon and is made up of a number of large multipolar neurones. Four different polyclonal primary antibodies against salmon (s)GnRH, chicken (c)GnRH-II (cGnRH-II 675, cGnRH-II 6) and sea bream (sb)GnRH were employed in the immunohistochemical experiments. No immunoreactive structures were found with anti sbGnRH serum. sGnRH and cGnRH-II antisera revealed immunoreactivity in the perikarya of the olfactory bulbs, preopticus-periventricular nucleus, oculomotor nucleus and midbrain tegmentum. The nucleus lateralis tuberis showed immunostaining only with anti-sGnRH serum. Nerve fibres immunoreactive to cGnRH and sGnRH sera were found in the olfactory bulbs, olfactory nerve and neurohypophysis. The significance of the distribution of the GnRHimmunoreactive neuronal structures is discussed.
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