Metamorphosis of the cerebral neuroendocrine system in the moth Manduca sexta

Philip F. Copenhaver, James W. Truman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


We have examined the morphology and neuronal elements of the cerebral neuroendocrine system in the larval, pupal, and adult stages of the moth Manduca sexta with a variety of neuroanatomical techniques. The larval brain contains several discrete groups of neurosecretory and non‐neurosecretory cells that project to the associated neurohemal organs (the corpora cardiaca‐allata complex, or CC‐CA) and to a variety of more peripheral structures. A previously undescribed set of cells in the subesophageal ganglion have also been found that project out the neurosecretory nerves. During metamorphosis, the cerebral neuroendocrine system undergoes a dramatic structural reorganization, including the reduction or loss of many larval nerves and a repositioning of the cell groups and their dendritic fields. Despite these changes, most of its central elements are retained. In addition, by the completion of adult development a new cluster of cells can be found on either side of the dorsal midline of the brain. We have also determined the relative contributions of the different cell groups to the moth neuroendocrine system by intracellular iontophoresis of dye into individual cells. Within the dorsal protocerebrum, five separate morphological types of cells can be recognized, each with a distinctive pattern of dendritic arborization in the brain and terminal neurohemal processes that project to the CC, the CA, the aorta, or to a combination of these regions. The large intrinsic cells of the CC have also been filled, revealing an unusual set of morphological features in these peripheral neurosecretory cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-204
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 8 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • corpora cardiacaallata
  • identified neurons
  • insect brain
  • neurosecretory cell
  • neurosecretory neuropil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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