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Acetylcholine, the first neurotransmitter to be identified in the vertebrate frog, is widely distributed among the animal kingdom. The presence of a large amount of acetylcholine in the nervous system of cephalopods is well known from several biochemical and physiological studies. However, little is known about the precise distribution of cholinergic structures due to a lack of a suitable histochemical technique for detecting acetylcholine. The most reliable method to visualize the cholinergic neurons is the immunohistochemical localization of the enzyme choline acetyltransferase, the synthetic enzyme of acetylcholine. Following our previous study on the distribution patterns of cholinergic neurons in the Octopus vulgaris visual system, using a novel antibody that recognizes choline acetyltransferase of the common type (cChAT), now we extend our investigation on the octopus central brain mass. When applied on sections of octopus central ganglia, immunoreactivity for cChAT was detected in cell bodies of all central brain mass lobes with the notable exception of the subfrontal and subvertical lobes. Positive varicosed nerves fibers where observed in the neuropil of all central brain mass lobes.
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