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GABA inhibition of luminescence from lantern shark (Etmopterus spinax) photophores
Claes, J.M.; Krönström, J.; Holmgren, S.; Mallefet, J. (2011). GABA inhibition of luminescence from lantern shark (Etmopterus spinax) photophores. Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Toxicol. Pharmacol. 153(2): 231-236.
In: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C. Toxicology and Pharmacology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 1532-0456, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Bioluminescence; Chondrichthyes; GABA(A) receptor; Melatonin;Neurotransmitter; Prolactin

Authors  Top 
  • Claes, J.M., more
  • Krönström, J.
  • Holmgren, S.
  • Mallefet, J., more

    Photogenic organs (photophores) of the velvet belly lantern shark (Etmopterus spinax) are under hormonal control, since melatonin (MT) and prolactin (PRL) trigger luminescence while α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) prevents this light to be emitted. A recent study supported, however, the presence of numerous nerve fibres in the photogenic tissue of this shark. Immunohistochemical and pharmacological results collected in this work support these nerve fibres to be inhibitory GABAergic nerves since (i) GABA immunoreactivity was detected inside the photogenic tissue, where previous labelling detected the nerve fibre structures and (ii) GABA was able to inhibit MT and PRL-induced luminescence, which was on the other hand increased by the GABAA antagonist bicuculline (BICU). In addition, we also demonstrated that BICU can induce light per se by provoking pigment retraction in the pigmented cells composing the iris-like structure of the photophore, attaining, however, only about 10% of hormonally induced luminescence intensity at 10− 3 mol L− 1. This strongly supports that a GABA inhibitory tonus controls photophore “aperture” in the photogenic tissue of E. spinax but also that MT and PRL have more than one target cell type in the photophores.

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