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Cell Tissue Res. 1982;223(2):369-402.

Gastro-intestinal and neurohormonal peptides in the alimentary tract and cerebral complex of Ciona intestinalis (Ascidiaceae).


Polypeptide-hormone producing cells were localized in the alimentary tract and cerebral ganglion of Ciona intestinalis using cytochemical, immunocytochemical and electron-microscopical methods. Antisera to the following peptides of vertebrate type were employed: bombesin, human prolactin (hPRL), bovine pancreatic polypeptide (PP), porcine secretin, motilin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), beta-endorphin, leu-enkephalin, met-enkephalin, neurotensin, 5-hydroxytryptamin (5-HT), cholecystokinin (CCK), human growth (GH), ACTH, corticotropin-like intermediate lobe peptide (CLIP) and gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP). Immunoreactive cells were found both in the alimentary tract epithelium and in the cerebral ganglion for bombesin, PP, substance P, somatostatin, secretin and neurotensin. Additionally, in the cerebral ganglion only, there were cells immunoreactive for beta-endorphin, VIP, motilin and human prolactin. 5-HT positive cells, however, were restricted to the alimentary tract. No immunoreactivity was obtained either in the cerebral ganglion or in the alimentary tract with antibodies to leu-enkephalin, met-enkephalin, CCK, growth hormone, ACTH, CLIP and GIP. Prolactin-immunoreactive and pancreatic polypeptide-immunoreactive cells were argyrophilic with the Grimelius' stain and were found in neighbouring positions in the cerebral ganglion. At the ultrastructural level five differently granulated cell types were distinguished in the cerebral ganglion. Granules were present in the perikarya as well as in axons. The possible functions of the peptides as neurohormones, neuroregulators and neuromodulators are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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