Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 253, Issue 3, pp 583–595 | Cite as

Light- and electron-microscopic immunocytochemistry of peptidergic neurons innervating thoracico-abdominal neurohaemal areas in the blowfly

  • Hanne Duve
  • Alan Thorpe
  • Dick R. Nässel


Ventral thoracic neurosecretory cells (VTNCs) of the blowflies, Calliphora erythrocephala and C. vomitoria, innervating thoracic neuropil and the dorsal neural sheath of the thoracico-abdominal ganglion have been shown to be immunoreactive to a variety of mammalian peptide antisera. In the neural sheath the VTNC terminals form an extensive neurohaemal network that is especially dense over the abdominal ganglia. The same areas are invaded by separate, ut overlapping serotonin-immunoreactive (5-HT-IR) projections derived from neuronal cell bodies in the suboesophageal ganglion. Immunocytochemical studies with different antisera, applied to adjacent sections at the lightmicroscopic level, combined with extensive cross-absorption tests, suggest that the perikarya of the VTNCs contain co-localized peptides related to gastrin/cholecystokinin (CCK), bovine pancreatic polypeptide (PP), Met- and Leuenkephalin and Met-enk-Arg6-Phe7 (Met-enk-RF). Electron-microscopic immunogold-labeling shows that some of the terminals in the dorsal sheath react with several of the individual peptide antisera, whilst others with similar cytology are non-immunoreactive. In the same region, separate terminals with different cytological characteristics contain 5-HT-IR. Both 5-HT-IR and peptidergic terminals are localized outside the cellular perineurium beneath the acellular permeable sheath adjacent to the haemocoel. Hence, we propose that various bioactive substances may be released from thoracic neurosecretory neurons into the circulating haemolymph to act on peripheral targets. The same neurons may also interact by synaptic or modulatory action in the CNS in different neuropil regions of the thoracic ganglion.

Key words

Bioactive peptides Coexistence of peptides Immunocytochemistry Electron microscopy Insect nervous system Calliphora erythrocephala, C. vomitoria 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanne Duve
    • 1
  • Alan Thorpe
    • 1
  • Dick R. Nässel
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary CollegeLondon UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of LundLundSweden

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