Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 325, Issue 3, pp 589–600 | Cite as

Orcokinin immunoreactivity in the accessory medulla of the cockroach Leucophaea maderae

Regular Article


The accessory medulla is the master circadian clock in the brain of the cockroach Leucophaea maderae and controls circadian locomotor activity. Previous studies have demonstrated that a variety of neuropeptides are prominent neuromediators in this brain area. Recently, members of the orcokinin family of crustacean neuropeptides have been identified in several insect species and shown to be widely distributed in the brain, including the accessory medulla. To investigate the possible involvement of orcokinins in circadian clock function, we have analyzed the distribution of orcokinin immunostaining in the accessory medulla of L. maderae in detail. The accessory medulla is densely innervated by approximately 30 orcokinin-immunoreactive neurons with cell bodies distributed in five of six established cell groups in the accessory medulla. Immunostaining is particularly prominent in three ventromedian neurons. These neurons have processes in a median layer of the medulla and in the internodular neuropil of the accessory medulla and send axonal fibers via the posterior optic commissure to their contralateral counterparts. Double-labeling experiments have revealed the colocalization of orcokinin immunostaining with immunoreactivity for pigment-dispersing hormone, FMRFamide, Mas-allatotropin, and γ-aminobutyric acid in two cell groups of the accessory medulla, but not in the ventromedian neurons or in the anterior and posterior optic commissure. Immunostaining in the ventromedian neurons suggests that orcokinin-related peptides play a role in the heterolateral transmission of photic input to the pacemaker and/or in the coupling of the bilateral pacemakers of the cockroach.


Peptides Immunocytochemistry  Brain Circadian rhythms Pigment-dispersing hormone Cockroach, Leucophaea maderae (Insecta) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fachbereich Biologie, TierphysiologiePhilipps-Universität MarburgMarburgGermany

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