Previous immunohistochemical analysis revealed a wide distribution of L1cam-positive neural and nonneural structures in adult mouse brain. Although there were numerous punctate immunoreactive nerve terminals, only a few immunoreactive neuronal cell somata were present (Munakata et al.  BMC Neurosci. 4:7). To explore the distribution of L1cam mRNA-containing cells, which are interpreted to be L1cam-producing cells, we performed in situ hybridization histochemistry with an antisense L1cam cRNA probe. L1cam mRNA was distributed widely from the olfactory bulb to the upper cervical cord with an uneven localization pattern in adult brain. All positive cell somata with silver grains after emulsion autoradiography were neuronal, and no grains were detected on nonneural cells in the present study. A high density of signals for neuronal L1cam mRNA was found in the thalamus, mammillary body, and hippocampus. In addition, strong hybridization signals were localized in various nuclei: main and accessory olfactory bulb, compact part of the substantia nigra, pontine gray matter, tegmental reticular nucleus, Edinger-Westphal nucleus, trigeminal motor nucleus, locus coeruleus, mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus, raphe nuclei, facial nucleus, ambiguus nucleus, dorsal motor vagal nucleus, and inferior olivary nucleus. Some long projection neurons such as the pyramidal, mitral, principal neurons of several cranial nuclei, and presumably monoaminergic cells containing noradrenalin, dopamine, and serotonin, expressed high levels of L1cam.
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