Immunocytochemistry of histamine in the brain of the locust Schistocerca gregaria.

Research paper by Stephan S Gebhardt, Uwe U Homberg

Indexed on: 29 Jun '04Published on: 29 Jun '04Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


Histamine serves a neurotransmitter role in arthropod photoreceptor neurons, but is also present in a small number of interneurons throughout the nervous system. In search of a suitable model system for the analysis of histaminergic neurotransmission in insects, we mapped the distribution of histamine in the brain of the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria by immunocytochemistry. In the optic lobe, apparently all photoreceptor cells of the compound eye with projections to the lamina and medulla showed intense immunostaining. Photoreceptors of the dorsal rim area of the eye had particularly large fiber diameters and gave rise to uniform varicose immunostaining throughout dorsal rim areas of the lamina and medulla. In the locust midbrain 21 bilateral pairs of histamine-immunoreactive interneurons were found, and 13 of these were reconstructed in detail. While most neuropil areas contained a dense meshwork of immunoreactive processes, immunostaining in the antennal lobe and in the calyces of the mushroom body was sparse and no staining occurred in the pedunculus and lobes of the mushroom body, in the protocerebral bridge, and in the lower division of the central body. A prominent group of four immunostained neurons had large cell bodies near the median ocellar nerve root and descending axonal fibers. These neurons are probably identical to previously identified primary commissure pioneer neurons of the locust brain. The apparent lack in the desert locust of certain histamine-immunoreactive neurons which were reported in the migratory locust may be responsible for differences in the physiological role of histamine between both species.