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Zoology (Jena). 2003;106(1):3-17.

The distribution of putative nitric oxide releasing neurones in the locust abdominal nervous system: a comparison of NADPHd histochemistry and NOS-immunocytochemistry.

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Institute of Biology, Neurobiology, Free University, Berlin, Germany.


Nitric oxide is well established as a signalling molecule in the nervous system of vertebrates and invertebrates. In this study we evaluate the usefulness of NADPHdiaphorase histochemistry and immunocytochemistry for detecting the presence of nitric oxide synthase in locusts. We describe the distribution of putative nitric oxide releasing neurones and stained neuropiles in the locust ventral nerve cord, in particular the abdominal ganglia and abdominal neuromeres. NADPHdiaphorase histochemistry revealed prominent staining in all neuropilar regions and a specific distribution pattern of stained cell bodies in all examined ganglia. Nitric oxide synthase immunocytochemistry, using a commercially available universal antibody, labelled cells in corresponding positions within the ganglia. This was confirmed by double labelling of alternate sections. Western blot analysis demonstrated that in locusts this universal NOS-antibody binds to a protein of similar size to nitric oxide synthase identified in other insect species. The antibody also labelled axons in most peripheral nerves of all examined ganglia, whereas NADPHdiaphorase histochemistry only revealed such stained fibres within peripheral nerves in some preparations, because they may have been masked by intense background staining. We therefore conclude that nitric oxide synthase-immunocytochemistry and NADPHd histochemistry are both good markers for the presence of nitric oxide synthase in the locust ventral nerve cord, and that nitric oxide may be used as a signalling molecule by efferent neurones in locusts.


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