Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The two vasopressin-like immunoreactive (VPLI) neurons of the locust, Locusta migratoria, have cell bodies in the suboesophageal ganglion and extensive arborizations throughout the CNS. One of the two peptides responsible for AVP-like immunoreactivity is a vasopressin-related peptide with putative ‘diuretic hormone’ properties. These neurons also have FLRF-like immunoreactivity, probably due to the FMRF-amide-related peptide, SchistoFLRF-amide, isolated from Schistocerca gregaria. This peptide has cardioinhibitory activity and a dual potentiation/inhibition of slow motoneuron induced muscle-twitch tension. Although haemolymph AVP-like peptide titre fluctuates under various conditions, the mechanism that regulates neurohaemal release of this peptide is not understood. Very little is known of the release of SchistoFLRF-amide. We have used intracellular recording from VPLI neurons in vivo to reveal synaptic inputs that lead to changes in their level of spiking activity, and probably, release of both the AVP-like peptides and SchistoFLRF-amide. This pair of neurosecretory cells has a major, common excitatory input whose sustained rate of activity is inversely related to light intensity; VPLI spiking activity, driven by this input, is greater in the dark than in light. This input is from a pair of descending brain interneurons. Their light-sensitivity persists after ablation of compound eyes, optic lobes and ocelli, showing them to be part of an extra-ocular photoreceptor system. Attempts to record from, and individually stain, the descending neuron have been unsuccessful, although its axon location and diameter in the circumoesophageal connective have been determined. Possible locations for its cell body have been identified; one region, close to the pars intercerebralis, is known to be photosensitive in some insects. Mechanosensory stimuli also lead to brief increases in VPLI spiking activity via the descending interneuron, though this modality rapidly habituates. We detect no changes in VPLI spiking activity that consistently correlate with the osmolality of perfusion salines; such changes might have been expected from their previously proposed role in water homeostasis. Alternative roles for VPLI cells are discussed.
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