Olfactory interneurons in the brain of the larval sphinx moth Manduca sexta

H. Itagaki, J. G. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


1. The physiology and morphology of olfactory interneurons in the brain of larval Manduca sexta were studied using intracellular recording and staining techniques. Antennal olfactory receptors were stimulated with volatile substances from plants and with pure odorants. Neurons responding to the stimuli were investigated further to reveal their response specificities, dose-response characteristics, and morphology. 2. We found no evidence of specific 'labeled-lines' among the odor-responsive interneurons, as none responded exclusively to one plant odor or pure odorant; most olfactory interneurons were broadly tuned in their response spectra. This finding is consistent with an 'across-fiber' pattern of odor coding. 3. Mechanosensory and olfactory information are integrated at early stages of central processing, appearing in the responses of some local interneurons restricted to the primary olfactory nucleus in the brain, the larval antennal center (LAC). 4. The responses of LAC projection neurons and higher-order protocerebral interneurons to a given odor were more consistent than the responses of LAC local interneurons. 5. The LAC appears to be functionally subdivided, as both local and projection neurons had arborizations in specific parts of the LAC, but none had dendrites throughout the LAC. 6. The mushroom bodies and the lateral protocerebrum contain neurons that respond to olfactory stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1990


  • Brain
  • Caterpillar
  • Chemosensory integration
  • Larva
  • Lepidoptera
  • Manduca sexta
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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