Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 269–284

Opioid mechanisms in insects, with special attention toLeucophaea maderae

  • Berta Scharrer
  • George B. Stefano
  • Michael K. Leung

DOI: 10.1007/BF00711169

Cite this article as:
Scharrer, B., Stefano, G.B. & Leung, M.K. Cell Mol Neurobiol (1988) 8: 269. doi:10.1007/BF00711169


  1. 1.

    This review article provides information on the evolutionary history of neuroendocrine and related regulatory mechanisms. It focuses on the presence, diverse roles, and modes of operation of one class of neuropeptides, the endogenous opioids, in insects.

  2. 2.

    Opioid peptides, closely resembling those of vertebrates, have been identified in the brain and related neuroendocrine structures by means of immunocytochemistry and high-pressure liquid chromatography.

  3. 3.

    The demonstration of naloxone-sensitive, high-affinity binding sites for Met-enkephalin-like neuropeptides in the brain and digestive tract ofLeucophaea deserves special attention because it provides new insights into the functional significance of opiate receptors paralleling those known in vertebrates.

  4. 4.

    Possible roles of receptor-mediated opioid systems in the insects discussed are regulation of the cyclicity of the female reproductive system, maintenance of normal midgut function mediated by the recurrent nerve, and locomotor activity.


Key words

neuroendocrine mechanisms evolutionary history neuropeptides endogenous opioids immunocytochemistry HPLC opioid receptors 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berta Scharrer
    • 1
  • George B. Stefano
    • 2
  • Michael K. Leung
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology and Department of NeuroscienceAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Aging and Biological Sciences ProgramSUNY/College at Old WestburyOld WestburyUSA
  3. 3.Multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Aging and Chemistry/Physics ProgramSUNY/College at Old WestburyOld WestburyUSA

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