Octopamine-immunoreactive neurons in the brain and subesophageal ganglion of the hawkmoth Manduca sexta

Andrew M. Dacks, Thomas A. Christensen, Hans J. Agricola, Leo Wollweber, John G. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Octopamine is a neuroactive monoamine that functions as a neurohormone, a neuromodulator, and a neurotransmitter in many invertebrate nervous systems, but little is known about the distribution of octopamine in the brain. We therefore used a monoclonal antibody to study the distribution of octopamine-like immunoreactivity in the brain of the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. Immunoreactive processes were observed in many regions of the brain, with the distinct exception of the upper division of the central body. We focused our analysis on nine ventral unpaired median (VUM) neurons with cell bodies in the labial neuromere of the subesophageal ganglion. Seven of these neurons projected caudally through the ventral nerve cord. Two neurons projected rostrally into the brain (supraesophageal ganglion), and one of these was a bilateral neuron that sent projections to the γ-lobe of the mushroom body and the lateral protocerebrum. Octopamine-immunoreactive processes from one or more cells originating in the subesophageal ganglion also form direct connections between the antennal lobes and the calyces of the mushroom bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-268
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


  • Insect brain
  • Learning
  • Neuromodulation
  • Octopamine
  • Olfaction
  • VUM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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