Immunohistochemical study of the brainstem cholinergic system in the alpaca (Lama pacos) and colocalization with CGRP


  • Pilar Marcos | Cellular Neuroanatomy and Molecular Chemistry of Central Nervous System, Faculty of Medicine, University of Castilla-La Mancha, CRIB (Regional Centre of Biomedical Research), Albacete, Spain.
  • Rafael Coveñas Institute of Neurosciences of Castilla y León (INCYL), Laboratory of Neuroanatomy of the Peptidergic Systems; Grupo GIR USAL: BMD (Bases Moleculares del Desarrollo), University of Salamanca, Spain.


Several cholinergic regions have been detected in the brainstem of mammals. In general, these regions are constant among different species, and the nuclear complement is maintained in animals belonging to the same order. The cholinergic system of the brainstem has been partially described in Cetartiodactyla, except for the medulla oblongata. In this work carried out in the alpaca, the description of the cholinergic regions in this order is completed by the immunohistochemical detection of the enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). In addition, using double immunostaining techniques, the relationship between the cholinergic system and the distribution of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) previously described is analysed. Although these two substances are found in several brainstem regions, the coexistence in the same cell bodies was observed only in the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, the nucleus ambiguus and the reticular formation. These results suggest that the interaction between ChAT and CGRP may be important in the regulation of voluntary movements, the control of rapid eye movement sleep and states of wakefulness as well as in reward mechanisms. Comparing the present results with others previously obtained by our group regarding the catecholaminergic system in the alpaca brainstem, it seems that CGRP may be more functionally related to the latter system than to the cholinergic system.



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Alpaca, brainstem, calcitonin gene-related peptide, cholinergic system, immunohistochemistry
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How to Cite
Marcos, P., & Coveñas, R. (2021). Immunohistochemical study of the brainstem cholinergic system in the alpaca (<em>Lama pacos</em>) and colocalization with CGRP. European Journal of Histochemistry, 65(s1).

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