a1 Department of Bioengineering and Neuroscience, Syracuse University, Syracuse
a2 SUNY Health Sciences Center, Syracuse
a3 Institute for Sensory Research, Syracuse University, Syracuse
The distribution of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the lateral eye and brain of the horseshoe crab was investigated with histochemical means using standard controls to eliminate butyrylcholinesterase and nonspecific staining. Intense staining was observed in the neural plexus of the lateral compound eye, in the lateral optic nerve, and in various neuropils of the brain. Nerve fibers with moderate to weak staining were widespread in the brain. No sornata were stained in either the lateral eye or the brain. The distribution of acetylcholinesterase in the supraesophageal ganglia and nerves of the giant barnacle was also investigated for comparison. Although both the median optic nerve of the barnacle and the lateral optic nerve of the horseshoe crab appear to contain the fibers of histaminergic neurons, only the lateral optic nerve of the horseshoe crab shows AChE staining. Other parts of the barnacle nervous system, however, showed intense AChE staining. These results along with the histochemical controls eliminate the possibility that some molecule found in histaminergic neurons accounted for the AChE staining but support the possibility that acetylcholine might be involved as a neurotransmitter in lateral inhibition in the horseshoe crab retina. Two reasonable neurotransmitter candidates for lateral inhibition, histamine and acetylcholine, must now be investigated.
(Received January 04 1994)
(Accepted April 07 1994)
Reprint requests to: Steven C. Chamberlain, Institute for Sensory Research, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-5290, USA.