François Auclair

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (18)91.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of dopamine (DA) to locomotor control is traditionally attributed to ascending dopaminergic projections from the substantia nigra pars compacta and the ventral tegmental area to the basal ganglia, which in turn project down to the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR), a brainstem region controlling locomotion in vertebrates. However, a dopaminergic innervation of the pedunculopontine nucleus, considered part of the MLR, was recently identified in the monkey. The origin and role of this dopaminergic input are unknown. We addressed these questions in a basal vertebrate, the lamprey. Here we report a functional descending dopaminergic pathway from the posterior tuberculum (PT; homologous to the substantia nigra pars compacta and/or ventral tegmental area of mammals) to the MLR. By using triple labeling, we found that dopaminergic cells from the PT not only project an ascending pathway to the striatum, but send a descending projection to the MLR. In an isolated brain preparation, PT stimulation elicited excitatory synaptic inputs into patch-clamped MLR cells, accompanied by activity in reticulospinal cells. By using voltammetry coupled with electrophysiological recordings, we demonstrate that PT stimulation evoked DA release in the MLR, together with the activation of reticulospinal cells. In a semi-intact preparation, stimulation of the PT elicited reticulospinal activity together with locomotor movements. Microinjections of a D1 antagonist in the MLR decreased the locomotor output elicited by PT stimulation, whereas injection of DA had an opposite effect. It appears that this descending dopaminergic pathway has a modulatory role on MLR cells that are known to receive glutamatergic projections and promotes locomotor output.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When animals move, respiration increases to adapt for increased energy demands; the underlying mechanisms are still not understood. We investigated the neural substrates underlying the respiratory changes in relation to movement in lampreys. We showed that respiration increases following stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) in an in vitro isolated preparation, an effect that persists in the absence of the spinal cord and caudal brainstem. By using electrophysiological and anatomical techniques, including whole-cell patch recordings, we identified a subset of neurons located in the dorsal MLR that send direct inputs to neurons in the respiratory generator. In semi-intact preparations, blockade of this region with 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione and (2R)-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid greatly reduced the respiratory increases without affecting the locomotor movements. These results show that neurons in the respiratory generator receive direct glutamatergic connections from the MLR and that a subpopulation of MLR neurons plays a key role in the respiratory changes linked to movement.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2011; 109(2):E84-92. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the connectivity in the neural networks controlling respiration in the lampreys, a basal vertebrate. Previous studies have shown that the lamprey paratrigeminal respiratory group (pTRG) plays a crucial role in the generation of respiration. By using a combination of anatomical and physiological techniques, we characterized the bilateral connections between the pTRGs and descending projections to the motoneurons. Tracers were injected in the respiratory motoneuron pools to identify pre-motor respiratory interneurons. Retrogradely labeled cell bodies were found in the pTRG on both sides. Whole-cell recordings of the retrogradely labeled pTRG neurons showed rhythmical excitatory currents in tune with respiratory motoneuron activity. This confirmed that they were related to respiration. Intracellular labeling of individual pTRG neurons revealed axonal branches to the contralateral pTRG and bilateral projections to the respiratory motoneuronal columns. Stimulation of the pTRG induced excitatory postsynaptic potentials in ipsi- and contralateral respiratory motoneurons as well as in contralateral pTRG neurons. A lidocaine HCl (Xylocaine) injection on the midline at the rostrocaudal level of the pTRG diminished the contralateral motoneuronal EPSPs as well as a local injection of 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and (2R)-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (AP-5) on the recorded respiratory motoneuron. Our data show that neurons in the pTRG send two sets of axonal projections: one to the contralateral pTRG and another to activate respiratory motoneurons on both sides through glutamatergic synapses.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 11/2011; 520(7):1442-56. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Central networks modulate sensory transmission during motor behavior. Sensory inputs may thus have distinct impacts according to the state of activity of the central networks. Using an in-vitro isolated lamprey brainstem preparation, we investigated whether a brainstem locomotor center, the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR), modulates sensory transmission. The synaptic responses of brainstem reticulospinal (RS) cells to electrical stimulation of the sensory trigeminal nerve were recorded before and after electrical stimulation of the MLR. The RS cell synaptic responses were significantly reduced by MLR stimulation and the reduction of the response increased with the stimulation intensity of the MLR. Bath perfusion of atropine prevented the depression of sensory transmission, indicating that muscarinic receptor activation is involved. Previous studies have shown that, upon stimulation of the MLR, behavioral activity switches from a resting state to an active-locomotor state. Therefore, our results suggest that a state-dependent modulation of sensory transmission to RS cells occurs in the behavioral context of locomotion and that muscarinic inputs from the MLR are involved.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 07/2010; 32(1):53-9. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A unilateral activation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) produces symmetrical bilateral locomotion in all vertebrate species tested to date. How this occurs remains unresolved. This study examined the possibility that the symmetry occurred at the level of the inputs from the MLR to reticulospinal (RS) cells. In lamprey semi-intact preparations, we recorded intracellular responses of pairs of large, homologous RS cells on both sides to stimulation of the MLR on one side. The synaptic responses on both sides were very similar in shape, amplitude, and threshold intensity. Increasing MLR stimulation intensity produced a symmetrical increase in the magnitude of the responses on both sides. Ca(2+) imaging confirmed the bilateral activation of smaller-sized RS cells as well. In a high-divalent cation solution, the synaptic responses of homologous RS cells persisted and exhibited a constant latency during high-frequency stimulation. Moreover, during gradual replacement of normal Ringer's solution with a Ca(2+)-free solution, the magnitude of responses showed a gradual reduction with a similar time course in the homologous RS cells. These results support the idea that the MLR projects monosynaptically to RS cells on both sides with symmetrical inputs. During locomotion of the semi-intact preparation, the discharge pattern was also very similar in homologous bilateral RS cells. Anatomical experiments confirmed the presence of MLR neurons projecting ipsilaterally to the reticular formation intermingled with neurons projecting contralaterally. We conclude that the bilaterally symmetrical MLR inputs to RS cells are likely contributors to generating symmetrical locomotor activity.
    Journal of Neuroscience 01/2010; 30(2):523-33. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is widely recognized that animals respond to odors by generating or modulating specific motor behaviors. These reactions are important for daily activities, reproduction, and survival. In the sea lamprey, mating occurs after ovulated females are attracted to spawning sites by male sex pheromones. The ubiquity and reliability of olfactory-motor behavioral responses in vertebrates suggest tight coupling between the olfactory system and brain areas controlling movements. However, the circuitry and the underlying cellular neural mechanisms remain largely unknown. Using lamprey brain preparations, and electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and tract tracing experiments, we describe the neural substrate responsible for transforming an olfactory input into a locomotor output. We found that olfactory stimulation with naturally occurring odors and pheromones induced large excitatory responses in reticulospinal cells, the command neurons for locomotion. We have also identified the anatomy and physiology of this circuit. The olfactory input was relayed in the medial part of the olfactory bulb, in the posterior tuberculum, in the mesencephalic locomotor region, to finally reach reticulospinal cells in the hindbrain. Activation of this olfactory-motor pathway generated rhythmic ventral root discharges and swimming movements. Our study bridges the gap between behavior and cellular neural mechanisms in vertebrates, identifying a specific subsystem within the CNS, dedicated to producing motor responses to olfactory inputs.
    PLoS Biology 01/2010; 8(12):e1000567. · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phenotype of large diameter sensory afferent neurons changes in several models of neuropathic pain. We asked if similar changes also occur in "functional" pain syndromes. Acidic saline (AS, pH 4.0) injections into the masseter muscle were used to induce persistent myalgia. Controls received saline at pH 7.2. Nocifensive responses of Experimental rats to applications of Von Frey Filaments to the masseters were above control levels 1-38 days post-injection. This effect was bilateral. Expression of c-Fos in the Trigeminal Mesencephalic Nucleus (NVmes), which contains the somata of masseter muscle spindle afferents (MSA), was above baseline levels 1 and 4 days after AS. The resting membrane potentials of neurons exposed to AS (n = 167) were hyperpolarized when compared to their control counterparts (n = 141), as were their thresholds for firing, high frequency membrane oscillations (HFMO), bursting, inward and outward rectification. The amplitude of HFMO was increased and spontaneous ectopic firing occurred in 10% of acid-exposed neurons, but never in Controls. These changes appeared within the same time frame as the observed nocifensive behaviour. Ectopic action potentials can travel centrally, but also antidromically to the peripheral terminals of MSA where they could cause neurotransmitter release and activation of adjacent fibre terminals. Using immunohistochemistry, we confirmed that annulospiral endings of masseter MSA express the glutamate vesicular transporter VGLUT1, indicating that they can release glutamate. Many capsules also contained fine fibers that were labelled by markers associated with nociceptors (calcitonin gene-related peptide, Substance P, P2X3 receptors and TRPV1 receptors) and that expressed the metabotropic glutamate receptor, mGluR5. Antagonists of glutamatergic receptors given together with the 2(nd) injection of AS prevented the hypersensitivity observed bilaterally but were ineffective if given contralaterally. Low pH leads to changes in several electrical properties of MSA, including initiation of ectopic action potentials which could propagate centrally but could also invade the peripheral endings causing glutamate release and activation of nearby nociceptors within the spindle capsule. This peripheral drive could contribute both to the transition to, and maintenance of, persistent muscle pain as seen in some "functional" pain syndromes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(6):e11131. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sensory inputs are subjected to modulation by central neural networks involved in controlling movements. It has been shown that serotonin (5-HT) modulates sensory transmission. This study examines in lampreys the effects of 5-HT on sensory transmission to brainstem reticulospinal (RS) neurons and the distribution of 5-HT cells that innervate RS cells. Cells were recorded intracellularly in the in vitro isolated brainstem of larval lampreys. Trigeminal nerve stimulation elicited disynaptic excitatory responses in RS neurons, and bath application of 5-HT reduced the response amplitude with maximum effect at 10 mum. Local ejection of 5-HT either onto the RS cells or onto the relay cells decreased sensory-evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) in RS cells. The monosynaptic EPSPs elicited from stimulation of the relay cells were also reduced by 5-HT. The reduction was maintained after blocking either N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) or alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. The local ejection of glutamate over RS cells elicited excitatory responses that were only slightly depressed by 5-HT. In addition, 5-HT increased the threshold for eliciting sustained depolarizations in response to trigeminal nerve stimulation but did not prevent them. Combined 5-HT immunofluorescence with axonal tracing revealed that the 5-HT innervation of RS neurons of the middle rhombencephalic reticular nucleus comes mainly from neurons in the isthmic region, but also from neurons located in the pretectum and caudal rhombencephalon. Our results indicate that 5-HT modulates sensory transmission to lamprey brainstem RS cells.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 09/2008; 28(4):655-67. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The spinal circuitry underlying the generation of basic locomotor synergies has been described in substantial detail in lampreys and the cellular mechanisms have been identified. The initiation of locomotion, on the other hand, relies on supraspinal networks and the cellular mechanisms involved are only beginning to be understood. This review examines some of the findings relative to the neural mechanisms involved in the initiation of locomotion of lampreys. Locomotion can be elicited by sensory stimulation or by internal cues associated with fundamental needs of the animal such as food seeking, exploration, and mating. We have described mechanisms by which escape swimming is elicited in lampreys in response to mechanical skin stimulation. A rather simple neural connectivity is involved, including sensory and relay neurons, as well as the brainstem rhombencephalic reticulospinal cells, which act as command neurons. We have shown that reticulospinal cells have intrinsic membrane properties that allow them to transform a short duration sensory input into a long-lasting excitatory command that activates the spinal locomotor networks. These mechanisms constitute an important feature for the activation of escape swimming. Other sensory inputs can also elicit locomotion in lampreys. For instance, we have recently shown that olfactory signals evoke sustained depolarizations in reticulospinal neurons and chemical activation of the olfactory bulbs with local injections of glutamate induces fictive locomotion. The mechanisms by which internal cues initiate locomotion are less understood. Our research has focused on one particular locomotor center in the brainstem, the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR). The MLR is believed to channel inputs from many brain regions to generate goal-directed locomotion. It activates reticulospinal cells to elicit locomotor output in a graded fashion contrary to escape locomotor bouts, which are all-or-none. MLR inputs to reticulospinal cells use both glutamatergic and cholinergic transmission; nicotinic receptors on reticulospinal cells are involved. MLR excitatory inputs to reticulospinal cells in the middle (MRRN) are larger than those in the posterior rhombencephalic reticular nucleus (PRRN). Moreover at low stimulation strength, reticulospinal cells in the MRRN are activated first, whereas those in the PRRN require stronger stimulation strengths. The output from the MLR on one side activates reticulospinal neurons on both sides in a highly symmetrical fashion. This could account for the symmetrical bilateral locomotor output evoked during unilateral stimulation of the MLR in all animal species tested to date. Interestingly, muscarinic receptor activation reduces sensory inputs to reticulospinal neurons and, under natural conditions, the activation of MLR cholinergic neurons will likely reduce sensory inflow. Moreover, exposing the brainstem to muscarinic agonists generates sustained recurring depolarizations in reticulospinal neurons through pre-reticular effects. Cells in the caudal half of the rhombencephalon appear to be involved and we propose that the activation of these muscarinoceptive cells could provide additional excitation to reticulospinal cells when the MLR is activated under natural conditions. One important question relates to sources of inputs to the MLR. We found that substance P excites the MLR, whereas GABA inputs tonically maintain the MLR inhibited and removal of this inhibition initiates locomotion. Other locomotor centers exist such as a region in the ventral thalamus projecting directly to reticulospinal cells. This region, referred to as the diencephalic locomotor region, receives inputs from several areas in the forebrain and is likely important for goal-directed locomotion. In summary, this review focuses on the most recent findings relative to initiation of lamprey locomotion in response to sensory and internal cues in lampreys.
    Brain Research Reviews 02/2008; 57(1):172-82. · 7.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Brainstem networks generating the respiratory rhythm in lampreys are still not fully characterized. In this study, we described the patterns of respiratory activities and we identified the general location of underlying neural networks. In a semi-intact preparation including the brain and gills, rhythmic discharges were recorded bilaterally with surface electrodes placed over the vagal motoneurons. The main respiratory output driving rhythmic gill movements consisted of short bursts (40.9+/-15.6 ms) of discharge occurring at a frequency of 1.0+/-0.3 Hz. This fast pattern was interrupted by long bursts (506.3+/-174.6 ms) recurring with an average period of 37.4+/-24.9 s. After isolating the brainstem by cutting all cranial nerves, the frequency of the short respiratory bursts did not change significantly, but the slow pattern was less frequent. Local injections of a glutamate agonist (AMPA) and antagonists (6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) or D,L-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5)) were made over different brainstem regions to influence respiratory output. The results were similar in the semi-intact and isolated-brainstem preparations. Unilateral injection of AP5 or CNQX over a rostral rhombencephalic region, lateral to the rostral pole of the trigeminal motor nucleus, decreased the frequency of the fast respiratory rhythm bilaterally or stopped it altogether. Injection of AMPA at the same site increased the rate of the fast respiratory rhythm and decreased the frequency of the slow pattern. The activity recorded in this area was synchronous with that recorded over the vagal motoneurons. After a complete transverse lesion of the brainstem caudal to the trigeminal motor nucleus, the fast rhythm was confined to the rostral area, while only the slow activity persisted in the vagal motoneurons. Our results support the hypothesis that normal breathing depends on the activity of neurons located in the rostral rhombencephalon in lampreys, whereas the caudal rhombencephalon generates the slow pattern.
    Neuroscience 09/2007; 148(1):279-93. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The localization of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has been well described in most classes of vertebrates but not in adult lampreys. The question if the GABA distribution is similar throughout the vertebrate subphylum is therefore still to be addressed. We here investigate two lamprey species, the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, and the river lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis, and compare the GABA pattern with that of other vertebrates. The present immunohistochemical study provides an anatomical basis for the general distribution and precise localization of GABAergic neurons in the adult lamprey forebrain and brainstem. GABA-immunoreactive cells were organized in a virtually identical manner in the two species. They were found throughout the brain, with the following regions being of particular interest: the granular cell layer of the olfactory bulb, the nucleus of the anterior commissure, the septum, the lateral and medial pallia, the striatum, the nucleus of the postoptic commissure, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and pretectal areas, the optic tectum, the torus semicircularis, the mesencephalic tegmentum, restricted regions of the rhombencephalic tegmentum, the octavolateral area, and the dorsal column nucleus. The GABA distribution found in cyclostomes is very similar to that of other classes of vertebrates, including mammals. Since the lamprey diverged from the main vertebrate line around 450 million years ago, this implies that already at that time the basic vertebrate plan for the GABA innervation in different parts of the brain had been developed.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 08/2007; 503(1):47-63. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) plays a significant role in the control of locomotion in all vertebrate species investigated. Forebrain neurons are likely to modulate MLR activity, but little is known about their inputs. Descending GABAergic projections to the MLR were identified by double-labeling neurons using Neurobiotin injected into the MLR combined with immunofluorescence against GABA. Several GABAergic projections to the MLR were identified in the telencephalon and diencephalon. The most abundant GABAergic projection to the MLR came from the caudal portion of the medial pallium, a region that may have similarities with the amygdala of higher vertebrates. A small population of GABAergic cells projecting to the MLR was found in the striatum and the ventral portion of the lateral pallium, which could respectively correspond to the input and output components of the basal ganglia thought to be involved in the selection of motor programs. Other GABAergic projections were found to come from the thalamus and the hypothalamus, which could take part in the motivational aspect of motor behavior in lampreys. Electrophysiological experiments were also carried out to examine the effects of GABA agonists and antagonists injected into the MLR in a semi-intact lamprey preparation. The GABA agonist inhibited locomotion, whereas the GABA antagonist initiated it. These results suggest that the GABAergic projections to the MLR modulate the activity of MLR neurons, which would be inhibited by GABA at rest.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 04/2007; 501(2):260-73. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Myriam Antri, André Cyr, François Auclair, Réjean Dubuc
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the spatial and temporal distribution of serotonin-immunoreactive (5-HT-ir) neurons in the brainstem of Petromyzon marinus at three developmental stages, larval, postmetamorphic, and reproductive. Computer-assisted 3-D reconstructions were made of the three main 5-HT-ir neuron groups. The rostralmost brainstem group was located near the posterior commissure, the second group at the isthmus, and the third group in the bulbar area. For each of those groups, the distribution of the 5-HT-ir neurons was very similar in the three developmental stages examined, suggesting that the 5-HT system is relatively mature early in larval animals. The soma of 5-HT-ir neurons increased in size and their dendritic fields increased in complexity with development. Furthermore, the number of 5-HT-ir neurons in each group increased significantly from the larval to the reproductive stage. To determine whether this was due to the genesis of 5-HT neurons, bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was injected into larval, metamorphosing, and postmetamorphic lampreys. These experiments revealed a few neurons colocalizing BrdU and 5-HT in metamorphosing animals. Taken together, the present results suggest that 5-HT neurons increase in number during maturation and that neurogenesis could, at least partially, contribute to the appearance of new 5-HT cells at different developmental stages.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 05/2006; 495(6):788-800. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • S McDavid, J P Lund, F Auclair, A Kolta
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    ABSTRACT: Three series of experiments were carried out to characterize interneurons located within the trigeminal motor nucleus of young rats aged 5-24 days. Cholera toxin injections were made bilaterally into the masseter and, sometimes, digastric muscles to label motoneurons. In the first set of experiments, thick slices were taken from the pontine brainstem and cholera toxin-positive and cholera toxin-negative neurons located inside the trigeminal motor nucleus were filled with biocytin through whole-cell recording patch electrodes. Positively identified motoneurons (cholera toxin+) of various shapes and sizes always had a thick, unbranched axon that entered the motor root following a tight zigzag course. Many cholera toxin-negative neurons were also classified as motoneurons after biocytin filling based on this particularity of their axon. These are probably either fusimotor motoneurons or motoneurons supplying other jaw muscles. The cholera toxin-negative neurons classified as interneurons differed markedly from motoneurons in that they had thin, usually branched axons that supplied the ipsilateral reticular region surrounding the trigeminal motor nucleus (peritrigeminal area), the main trigeminal sensory nucleus, the trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus, the medial reticular formation of both sides, and the contralateral medial peritrigeminal area. Most often, their dendrites were arranged in bipolar arbors that extended beyond the borders of the trigeminal motor nucleus into the peritrigeminal area. Immunohistochemistry against glutamate, GABA and glycine was used to further document the nature and distribution of putative interneurons. Immunoreactive neurons were uniformly distributed throughout the rostro-caudal extent of the trigeminal motor nucleus. Their concentration seemed greater toward the edges of the nucleus and they were scarce in the digastric motoneuron pool. Glutamate- outnumbered GABA- and glycine-immunoreactive neurons. There was no clear segregation between the three populations. In the final experiment, 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetra-methylindocarbocyanine perchlorate crystals were inserted into one trigeminal motor nucleus in thick slices and allowed to diffuse for several weeks. This procedure marked commissural fibers and interneurons in the contralateral trigeminal motor nucleus. Together these results conclusively support the existence of interneurons in the trigeminal motor nucleus.
    Neuroscience 02/2006; 139(3):1049-59. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While larval sea lampreys exist as eyeless filter feeders for several years, they transform into free-swimming juveniles (transformers) that attach parasitically to prey fish as they develop sexual maturity. This study examines lamprey lens development and optics and, since the lens is often the only refractive component of an aquatic eye, the data also provide an indication of visual ability during transformer and adult periods of life. Seven adult sea lampreys (0.40-0.55 m) and eight transformers (0.15-0.18 m) were sacrificed, the eyes removed and lenses dissected, measured, and placed in an automated laser scanning instrument. Back vertex focal length (spherical aberration) was measured for 14 beam positions across each lens by using a digital camera to record the position of the refracted beam. Transformer lenses exhibit positive spherical aberration, with average focal lengths varying from about 2.40 mm near the lens center and 1.06 mm at the lens periphery. On the other hand, the lenses from adults are largely corrected for spherical aberration, with average focal lengths varying from 2.19 mm to 2.44 mm. This result indicates that the younger lenses do not have a gradient refractive index necessary to mitigate the aberration and that further study of this model may reveal the relation between lens embryology and the development of such a gradient.
    Journal of Comparative Physiology 07/2005; 191(6):505-9. · 1.86 Impact Factor
  • François Auclair, James P Lund, Réjean Dubuc
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of tachykinins in the CNS of vertebrates has been known for many decades, and numerous studies have described their distribution in mammals. Tachykinins were also reported in the CNS of lampreys using immunohistochemistry, chromatography, and radioimmunoassay methods, but the use of substance P (SP)-specific antibodies to reveal those tachykinins could have led to an underestimation of their number in this genus. Therefore, we carried out a new immunohistochemical study on Petromyzon marinus using a commercial polyclonal antibody that binds not only to mammalian SP, but also to other neurokinins. This antibody labeled all previously described lamprey tachykinin-containing neuronal populations, but more important, labeled new populations in several parts of the brain. These include the dorsal gray of the rostral spinal cord, the dorsal column nuclei, the octavolateral area, the nucleus of the solitary tract, the medial rhombencephalic reticular formation, the lateral tegmentum of the rostral rhombencephalon, the torus semicircularis, the optic tectum, the habenula, the mammillary area, the dorsal thalamic area, the lateral hypothalamus, and the septum area. Preabsorption experiments confirmed the binding of the antibody to neurokinins and allowed us to propose that the CNS of P. marinus contains at least two different tachykinins.
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/2004; 479(3):328-46. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In lampreys as in other vertebrates, brainstem centres play a key role in the initiation and control of locomotion. One such centre, the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR), was identified physiologically at the mesopontine border. Descending inputs from the MLR are relayed by reticulospinal neurons in the pons and medulla, but the mechanisms by which this is carried out remain unknown. Because previous studies in higher vertebrates and lampreys described cholinergic cells within the MLR region, we investigated the putative role of cholinergic agonists in the MLR-controlled locomotion. The local application of either acetylcholine or nicotine exerted a direct dose-dependent excitation on reticulospinal neurons as well as induced active or fictive locomotion. It also accelerated ongoing fictive locomotion. Choline acetyltransferase-immunoreactive cells were found in the region identified as the MLR of lampreys and nicotinic antagonists depressed, whereas physostigmine enhanced the compound EPSP evoked in reticulospinal neurons by electrical stimulation of this region. In addition, cholinergic inputs from the MLR to reticulospinal neurons were found to be monosynaptic. When the brainstem was perfused with d-tubocurarine, the induction of swimming by MLR stimulation was depressed, but not prevented, in a semi-intact preparation. Altogether, the results support the hypothesis that cholinergic inputs from the MLR to reticulospinal cells play a substantial role in the initiation and the control of locomotion.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 02/2003; 17(1):137-48. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The innervation of gill muscles of lampreys was investigated in a semi-intact preparation in which the respiratory rhythm was maintained for more than 2 days. Lesion experiments showed that the muscles of gill 1 are innervated by nerves VII (facial) and IX (glossopharyngeal), and those of gill 2 by nerve IX and the first branchial branch of nerve X (vagal). The other gills are supplied by the other branchial branches of nerve X. Retrograde tracers, injected in peripheral respiratory nerves, showed that branchial muscles are innervated by VII, IX and X motoneurons. Within the X nucleus, the motoneuron pools were branchiotopically organized, but with considerable rostro-caudal overlap. Electrophysiological recordings were used to show that the onset of activation of the branchial muscles was increasingly delayed with the distance from the brainstem, but that motoneuronal activity recorded with surface electrodes began at approximately the same time in all pools. The conduction velocity of VII and caudal X motor axons was found to be the same. Differences in the length of motoneuron axons appear to account for the rostro-caudal delay in gill contraction. The data presented here provide a much needed anatomical and physiological basis for further studies on the neural network controlling respiration in lampreys.
    Neuroscience 02/2003; 122(1):259-66. · 3.12 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

223 Citations
91.41 Total Impact Points


  • 2004–2013
    • Université de Montréal
      • • Department of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine
      • • Department of Physiology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2010
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2005–2010
    • Université du Québec à Montréal
      • Department of Kinanthropology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada