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In all life stages, the gut of the mosquito is innervated by a small number (typically 4) of central neurons immunoreactive to serotonin (SI). The serotonergic system appears to pass through metamorphosis largely intact, despite extensive remodeling of the gut. Axons immunoreactive to antibodies raised against molluscan FMRFamide (RF-I) constitute peptidergic innervation that anatomically parallels the serotonergic system. In the larva, two clusters of 3 neurons project to the anterior regions of the gut, whereas in the pupa and adult, typically two large RF-I neurons located next to the esophagus send several processes posteriorly. In adults, these neurons branch throughout the diverticula and anterior stomach. In pupae, but not in larvae or adults, the gut RF-l system coexpresses reactivity to antibodies raised against a member of another peptide family, molluscan small cardioactive peptide b (SCP-I). SCP-I immunoreactivity is localized independently of RF-l immunoreactivity in the ganglia of all stages and in neurons that project along the gut of the adult. We did not find any colocalization of S-I and the peptide markers. Distinct populations of enteroendocrine cells populate different regions of the gut at different life stages. Changes in staining pattern suggest that these cells are replaced at metamorphosis along with the other gut cells during the extensive remodeling of the tract. Distributed in the gut epithelium are subpopulations that express either RF-I or SCP-I; a small fraction of these cells bind antibodies to both peptides. The stomachs of adult females are larger than those of males, and the numbers of SCP-I and RF-I enteroendocrine cells are proportionately greater in females. In all the life stages, the junctions between different regions of the gut are the focus of regulatory input. The larval cardiac valve possesses a ring of cells, the necklace cells, which appear to receive extensive synaptic inputs from both the serotonergic system and the peptidergic system. Another focus of control is the pyloric valve, which is encircled by axon-like processes. The immunoreactive pattern of this region differs across life stages, expressing SCP-I in larvae, S-I in pupae, and both SCP-I and RF-I in adults.
small cardioactive peptide b-like immunoreactivity
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