Choline acetyltransferase immunohistochemical staining in the goldfish (Carassius auratus) brain: evidence that the Mauthner cell does not contain choline acetyltransferase. Academic Article uri icon


  • In the hatchetfish, the Mauthner cell (M-cell) is thought to be cholinergic based on electrophysiological studies using cholinergic agents and on the localization of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and alpha-bungarotoxin to M-cell-giant fiber synapses. Immunocytochemical studies have shown that mammalian and non-mammalian cholinergic neurons stain positive for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the enzyme responsible for synthesizing acetylcholine. We processed tissue from the goldfish (Carassius auratus) for the immunohistochemical detection of ChAT using the monoclonal antibody AB8 and the peroxidase-antiperoxidase procedure. ChAT immunoreactivity was found in selected areas of the goldfish brain including the cranial nerve nuclei and the ventral horn motoneurons of the spinal cord. Interestingly, the M-cell soma which stains positive for AChE was ChAT negative. This immunohistochemical evidence does not support cholinergic functioning of the Mauthner cell.

publication date

  • September 3, 1986