Anatomy of antenno-cerebral pathways in the brain of the sphinx moth Manduca sexta

U. Homberg, R. A. Montague, J. G. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


In the moth Manduca sexta, the number and morphology of neuronal connections between the antennal lobes and the protocerebrum were examined. Cobalt injections revealed eight morphological types of neurons with somata adjacent to the AL neuropil that project in the inner, middle, and outer antenno-cerebral tracts to the protocerebrum. Neurons innervating the macroglomerular complex and many neurons with fibers in the inner antennocerebral tract have uniglomerular antennal-lobe arborizations. Most neurons in the middle and outer antenno-cerebral tracts, on the other hand, seem to innervate more than one glomerulus. Protocerebral areas receiving direct input from the antennal lobe include the calyces of the mushroom bodies, and circumscribed areas termed "olfactory foci" in the lateral horn of the protocerebrum and several other regions, especially areas in close proximity to the mushroom bodies. Fibers in the inner antenno-cerebral tract that innervate the male-specific macroglomerular complex have arborizations in the protocerebrum that are distinct from the projections of sexually non-specific neurons. Protocerebral neurons projecting into the antennal lobe are much less numerous than antennal-lobe output cells. Most of these protocerebral fibers enter the antennal lobe in small fiber tracts that are different from those described above. In the protocerebrum, these centrifugal cells arborize in olfactory foci and also in the inferior median protocerebrum and the lateral accessory lobes. The morphological diversity of connections between the antennal lobes and the protocerebrum, described here for the first time on a single-cell level, suggests a much greater physiological complexity of the olfactory system than has been assumed so far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-281
Number of pages27
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1988


  • Antennal interneurons
  • Antennal lobe
  • Insect nervous system
  • Manduca sexta (Insecta)
  • Olfactory system
  • Protocerebrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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