Vasopressin‐immunoreactive neurons and neurohemal systems in cockroaches and mantids

Norman T. Davis, John G. Hildebrand

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22 Scopus citations


Vasopressin‐like neuropeptides of insects are of special interest because of their possible function as hormones and neuromodulators. Therefore, this study was undertaken by using whole‐mount immunofluorescent staining by two antisera that recognize different types of vasopressin‐like immunoreactive groups of neurons in the cockroaches Periplaneta americana, Leucophaea maderae, Nauphoeta cinerea, Diploptera punctata, and Blaberus discoidalis and in the mantids Litaneuria minor and Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. Using an antiserum to Arg/vasopressin, only two cells, the paired ventral paramedian (PVP) neurons, were immunostained in the central nervous system (CNS) of the cockroaches. These cells are located in the subesophageal ganglion, project throughout the CNS, and appear to be neurosecretory. Their varicose collaterals extend into the dorsal (motor) neuropil of the segmental ganglia, and this neuropil may be the principal site of the release of their neurosecretion. The PVP neurons were also stained by an antiserum to Lys/vasopressin; in addition, this antiserum stained several other groups of neurons, most of which appeared to be neurosecretory. Two pairs of Lys/vasopressin‐immunoreactive cells are similar to the PVP neurons in that they are located in the subesophageal ganglion, extend through the ventral nerve cord, have collaterals in the dorsal neuropil of the segmental ganglia, and appear to be neurosecretory within the CNS. In addition, midventral and anteroventral clusters of Lys/vasopressin‐immunoreactive neurosecretory neurons in the subesophageal ganglion project neurohemal release sites on the corpora allata. Other types of Lys/vasopressin‐immunoreactive neurons include median and lateral neurosecretory cells of the protocerebrum and neurosecretory cells in the tritocerebrum, all of which project to the corpora cardiaca. In the abdominal ganglia there are posterolateral clusters of Lys/vasopressin neurosecretory neurons, and these cells extend to neurohemal release sites on the transverse and lateral cardiac nerves. In mantids the anti‐Arg/vasopressin and anti‐Lys/vasopressin antisera stained most of the same groups of neurons that these antisera recognized in cockroaches. The results of this study suggest that there are two or more vasopressin‐like peptides in cockroaches and mantids and that these peptides may be released either as hormones in the blood or as neurosecretions within the CNS. Their function(s) in these insects remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 1992


  • Periplaneta americana
  • immunocytochemistry
  • insect
  • neuroanatomy
  • neuropeptides
  • neurosecretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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