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Microsc Res Tech. 2002 Feb 1;56(3):189-209.

Neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the brain of the locust.

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Fachbereich Biologie, Tierphysiologie, Universit├Ąt Marburg, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


As part of continuous research on the neurobiology of the locust, the distribution and functions of neurotransmitter candidates in the nervous system have been analyzed particularly well. In the locust brain, acetylcholine, glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and the biogenic amines serotonin, dopamine, octopamine, and histamine most likely serve a transmitter function. Increasing evidence, furthermore, supports a signalling function for the gaseous molecule nitric oxide, but a role for neuroptides is so far suggested only by immunocytochemistry. Acetylcholine, glutamate, and GABA appear to be present in large numbers of interneurons. As in other insects, antennal sensory afferents might be cholinergic, while glutamate is the transmitter candidate of antennal motoneurons. GABA is regarded as the principle inhibitory transmitter of the brain, which is supported by physiological studies in the antennal lobe. The cellular distribution of biogenic amines has been analyzed particularly well, in some cases down to physiologically characterized neurons. Amines are present in small numbers of interneurons, often with large branching patterns, suggesting neuromodulatory roles. Histamine, furthermore, is the transmitter of photoreceptor neurons. In addition to these "classical transmitter substances," more than 60 neuropeptides were identified in the locust. Many antisera against locust neuropeptides label characteristic patterns of neurosecretory neurons and interneurons, suggesting that these peptides have neuroactive functions in addition to hormonal roles. Physiological studies supporting a neuroactive role, however, are still lacking. Nitric oxide, the latest addition to the list of neurotransmitter candidates, appears to be involved in early stages of sensory processing in the visual and olfactory systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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