Parasitology Research

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 302–308 | Cite as

Immunocytochemical demonstration of neuropeptides in the peripheral nervous system of the roundwormAscaris suum (Nematoda, ascaroidea)

  • D. J. A. Brownlee
  • I. Fairweather
  • C. F. Johnston
Original Investigations


The localisation and distribution of neuropeptides in the peripheral nervous system of the pig roundwormAscaris suum have been determined by an indirect immunofluoresence technique in conjunction with confocal microscopy. Of the 31 antisera tested, immunostaining was obtained only with antisera to peptide YY (PYY), pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and FMRFamide. Immunostaining for PYY and FMRFamide was evident in the amphidial and papillary ganglia associated with the anterior nerve ring and in the nerves from these ganglia that terminated in sensory receptors within the buccal lips of the parasite. The only peptide immunoreactivity (IR) observed in the reproductive system of either sex was that evident in the nerve supply to the distal region of the vagina in the female worm. It took the form of a well-developed plexus of parallel nerve fibres, cross-connectives and looped commissures. The nerve net diminished in the more proximal region of the vagina. PP-IR was less intense than that for PYY and FMRFamide and was more restricted in distribution, being confined to a small number of nerve fibres in the nerve supply to the vagina; it did not occur in the nerves supplying the anterior sensory receptors. The possible roles of neuropeptides in the sensory and reproductive biology of nematodes are discussed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. A. Brownlee
    • 1
  • I. Fairweather
    • 1
  • C. F. Johnston
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biology and BiochemistryThe Queen's University of Belfast, Medical Biology CentreBelfastNorthern Ireland
  2. 2.School of Clinical MedicineThe Queen's University of BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland

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