Comparison of octopamine-like immunoreactivity in the brains of the fruit fly and blow fly

Irina Sinakevitch, Nicholas J. Strausfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


A serum raised against conjugated octopamine reveals structurally comparable systems of perikarya and arborizations in protocerebral neuropils of two species of Diptera, Drosophila melanogaster and Phaenicia sericata; the latter is used extensively for electrophysiological studies of the optic lobes and their central projections. Clusters of cell bodies in the brain as well as midline perikarya provide octopamine-like immunoreactive processes to the optic lobes, circumscribed regions of the protocerebrum and the central complex, particularly the protocerebral bridge, fan-shaped body, and ellipsoid body. Ventral unpaired median somata provide immunoreactive processes within the subesophageal ganglion and tritocerebrum. Ascending neurites from these cells also supply the antennal lobe glomeruli, regions of the lateral protocerebrum, the mushroom body calyces, and the lobula complex. The mushroom body's γ lobes contain immunoreactive processes that originate from processes that arborize in the protocerebrum. The present observations are discussed with respect to similarities and differences between two species of Diptera, one of which has neurons large enough for intracellular penetrations. The results are also discussed with respect to recent studies on octopamine-immunoreactive organization in honey bees and cockroaches and the suggested roles of octopamine in sensory processing, learning, and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-475
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 20 2006


  • Central complex
  • Learning and memory
  • Locomotion
  • Mushroom bodies
  • Octopamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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