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Microsc Res Tech. 1996 Oct 15;35(3):201-29.

Neuroanatomy and immunocytochemistry of the median neuroendocrine cells of the subesophageal ganglion of the tobacco hawkmoth, Manduca sexta: immunoreactivities to PBAN and other neuropeptides.

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ARL Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


The median neuroendocrine cells of the subesophageal ganglion, important components of the neuroendocrine system of the tobacco hawkmoth, Manduca sexta, have not been well investigated. Therefore, we studied the anatomy of these cells by axonal backfills and characterized their peptide immunoreactivities. Both larvae and adults were examined, and developmental changes in these neuroendocrine cells were followed. Processes of the median neuroendocrine cells project to terminations in the corpora cardiaca via the third and the ventral nerves of this neurohemal organ, but the ventral nerve of the corpus cardiacum is the principal neurohemal surface for this system. Cobalt backfills of the third cardiacal nerves revealed lateral cells in the maxillary neuromere and a ventro-median pair in the labial neuromere. Backfills of the ventral cardiacal nerves revealed two ventro-median pairs of cells in the mandibular neuromere and two ventro-median triplets in the maxillary neuromere. The efferent projections of these cells are contralateral. The anatomy of the system is basically the same in larvae and adults. The three sets of median neuroendocrine cells are PBAN- and FMRFamide-immunoreactive, but only the mandibular and maxillary cells are proctolin-immunoreactive. During metamorphosis, the mandibular and maxillary cells also acquire CCK-like immunoreactivity and the labial cells become SCP- and sulfakinin-immunoreactive. Characteristics of FMRFamide-like immunostaining suggest that the median neuroendocrine cells may contain one or more of the FLRFamides that have been identified in M. sexta. The mandibular and maxillary neuroendocrine cells appear to produce the same set of hormones, and a somewhat different set of hormones is produced by the labial neuroendocrine cells. Two pairs of interneurons immunologically related to the neurosecretory cells are associated with the median maxillary neuroendocrine cells. These cells are PBAN-, FMRFamide-, SCP-, and sulfakinin-immunoreactive and project to arborizations in the brain and all ventral ganglia. These interneurons appear to have extensive modulatory functions in the CNS.

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