Peptide‐immunocytochemistry of neurosecretory cells in the brain and retrocerebral complex of the sphinx moth Manduca sexta

U. Homberg, N. T. Davis, J. G. Hildebrand

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97 Scopus citations


Antisera against a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate neuropeptides were used to map cerebral neurosecretory cells in the sphinx moth Manduca sexta. Intense immunoreactive staining of distinct populations of neurosecretory cells was obtained with antisera against locust adipokinetic hormone, bovine pancreatic polypeptide, FMRFamide, molluscan small cardioactive peptide (SCPB), leucine‐enkephalin, gastrin/cholecystokinin, and crustacean β‐pigment dispersing hormone (βPDH). Other antisera revealed moderate to weak staining. Each type of neurosecretory cell is immunoreactive with at least one of the antisera tested, and most of these neurons can be identified anatomically. The staining patterns provide additional information on the organization of cerebral neurosecretory cells in M. sexta. Based upon anatomical and immunocytochemical characteristics, 11 types of neurosecretory cells have been recognized in the brain, one type in the suboesophageal ganglion, and one in the corpus cardiacum. Extensive colocalization experiments show that many neurosecretory cells are immunoreactive with several different antisera. This raises the possibility that these cells may release mixtures of neuropeptides into the hemolymph, as has been demonstrated in certain other systems. The immunocytochemical data should be helpful in efforts to identify additional peptide neurohormones released from the brain of this and other insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • immunocytochemistry
  • insect brain
  • neuropeptides
  • neurosecretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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