NADPH-diaphorase localization in the CNS and peripheral tissues of the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica

Leonid L. Moroz, Rhanor Gillette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of putative nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-containing cells in the opisthobranch mollusc Pleurobranchaea californica was studied histochemically via NADPH-diaphorase (NADPH-d) reduction of Nitro Blue Tetrazolium (NTB). Whole mounts and cryostat sections were prepared from the central nervous system and peripheral organs, including the buccal muscles, esophagus, salivary glands, foot, mantle, and gills. NADPH-d-positive neurons were localized predominantly to the buccal and pedal ganglia as well as to distinct areas of the cerebropleural and visceral ganglia. A variety of identified neurons were positive for NADPH-diaphorase in various central ganglia, including the metacerebral cells of the cerebropleural ganglion, putative locomotor neurons of the pedal ganglia, and buccal motoneurons. Specific staining was observed only in somata of central neurons, whereas neuropil areas remained unstained. However, NADPH-d-reactive axons were dense in buccal ganglion nerves, whereas peripheral nerves and connectives of other ganglia had few or no NADPH-d positive terminals. In the periphery, NADPH-d activity was detected only in a few neurons of the rhinophore and tentacle ganglia. NADPH-d staining was marked in the salivary glands and gills, but there was no or very little staining in the esophagus, buccal mass, and foot. Histochemical stain production required the presence of both β-NADPH and NBT; α-NADPH could not substitute for β-NADPH. The inhibitor of NOS, 2,6- dichlorophenol-indophenol, at 10-3 M, totally abolished NADPH-d-positive staining. The apparent high activity of central NADPH-d contrasts with much lower activity in the ganglia of the related gastropod Tritonia. These data suggest a role for nitric oxide as a signal molecule in the central nervous system of Pleurobranchaea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-622
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 15 1996


  • Mollusca, Tritonia
  • nitric oxide synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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