We examined the immunocytochemical distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis, in the di-and mesencephalon of developing bullfrog tadpoles. Special attention was given to catecholaminergic innervation of the median eminence and pituitary. In premetamorphic tadpoles, tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons were visualized in the suprachiasmatic and infundibular hypothalamus, the ventral thalamus, and midbrain tegmentum by Taylor-Kollros stage V. The number of labeled neurons in all these areas increased as metamorphosis progressed. By mid-prometamorphosis, labeled neurons appeared in the preoptic recess organ as well as in the posterior thalamic nucleus. The majority of cells in the preoptic recess organ, as well as occasional neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, exhibited labeled processes which projected through the ependymal lining of the preoptic recess to contact cerebrospinal fluid. The modified CSF-contacting neurons of the nucleus of the periventricular organ were devoid of specific staining. By late prometamorphosis, labeled fibers from the suprachiasmatic nucleus were observed projecting caudally to enter the hypothalamo-hypophysial-tract en route to innervating the median eminence and pituitary. Labeled fibers arising from the dorsal infundibular nucleus projected ventrolaterally to contribute to catecholaminergic innervation of the median eminence and pituitary. Immunoperoxidase staining of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive fibers and terminal arborizations in the median eminence were restricted to non-ependymal layers, while labeled fibers in the pituitary were observed in the pars intermedia and pars nervosa. Staining of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive fibers in the median eminence and pituitary was sparse or absent in premetamorphic tadpoles, but became increasingly more intense as metamorphosis progressed.
- Catecholamine-synthesizing enzymes
- Hypothalamo-hypophysial system
- Rana catesbeiana (Anura)
- Tyrosine hydroxylase