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© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Neurokinin B, encoded by the tachykinin3 gene, plays a crucial role in regulating reproduction in mammals via KNDy neurons and interaction with GnRH. Previous work in teleost fishes has focused on hypothalamic tac3 expression for its role in reproduction, but detailed studies on extra-hypothalamic tac3 expression are limited. Here, we identified two tac3 genes in the social African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni, only one of which produces a functional protein containing the signature tachykinin motif. In situ hybridization for tac3a mRNA identified cell populations throughout the brain. Numerous tac3a cells lie in several thalamic and hypothalamic nuclei, including periventricular nucleus of posterior tuberculum, lateral tuberal nucleus (NLT), and nucleus of the lateral recess (NRL). Scattered tac3-expressing cells are also present in telencephalic parts, such as ventral (Vv) and supracomissural (Vs) part of ventral telencephalon. In contrast to other teleosts, tac3 expression was absent from the pituitary. Using double-fluorescent staining, we localized tac3a-expressing cells in relation to GnRH and kisspeptin cells. Although no GnRH-tac3a colabeled cells were observed, dense GnRH fibers surround and potentially synapse with tac3a cells in the preoptic area. Only minimal (<5%) colabeling of tac3a was observed in kiss2 cells. Despite tac3a expression in many nodes of the mesolimbic reward system, it was absent from tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-expressing cells, but tac3a cells were located in areas with dense TH fibers. The presence of tac3a-expressing cells throughout the brain, including in socially relevant brain regions, suggest more diverse functions beyond regulation of reproductive physiology that may be conserved across vertebrates.

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Journal of Comparative Neurology

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