Control of neurosecretion in the moth Manduca sexta: Physiological regulation of the eclosion hormone cells

Philip F. Copenhaver, James W. Truman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


1. Metamorphosis in the moth Manduca sexta culminates with the secretion of the peptide eclosion hormone (EH), which triggers the stereotyped behavior of adult emergence (eclosion) from the pupal cuticle. In restrained but spontaneously behaving animals, the release of EH occurred shortly before the onset of subjective night (Fig. 3) and coincided with a depletion of EH from the neurohemal organs of the brain, the corpora cardiaca-corpora allata complex (CC-CA; Fig. 4). 2. EH is produced by neurons within a bilaterally paired group of brain neurosecretory cells (Group Ia) which project to the CC-CA via the nervi corporis cardiaci-1+2 (NCC-1+2; Fig. 1). Electrical stimulation of the NCC-1+2 caused a marked increase in the levels of EH secreted from isolated CC-CA (Fig. 2), while stimulation of the other nerves innervating the neurohemal organs did not. 3. Electrical activity in the NCC-1+2 paralleled that of the cerebral neurosecretory cells (Fig. 1). Chronic extracellular recordings revealed a sudden increase in the tonic firing of several units within this nerve approximately 2 to 3 h before normal eclosion (Fig. 5), coincident with the release of EH bioactivity from the CC-CA (Fig. 6). 4. The Group Ia neurons were electrically inactive on the day before eclosion (Day -1), but on the day of eclosion (Day 0) a subgroup of these cells exhibited both enhanced synaptic input and elevated rates of tonic firing during the normal time of EH release (Fig. 7). 5. No significant differences in resting membrane potential or spike waveform characteristics were detected among the various subsets of Group Ia cells on either Day -1 or Day 0, while a significant increase in the resting input resistance was seen in the active subgroup on Day 0 (Fig. 8). This increase may be due to the regulatory effects of the steroid 20-hydroxyecdysone, which inhibits the release of EH and may act by preventing the synaptic activation of the EH neurons until the final day of adult development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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