Sequential developmental acquisition of cotransmitters in identified sensory neurons of the stomatogastric nervous system of the lobsters, Homarus americanus and Homarus gammarus

J Comp Neurol. 1999 Jun 7;408(3):318-34. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19990607)408:3<318::aid-cne2>;2-s.


We studied the developmental acquisition of three of the cotransmitters found in the gastropyloric receptor (GPR) neurons of the stomatogastric nervous systems of the lobsters Homarus americanus and Homarus gammarus. By using wholemount immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy, we examined the distribution of serotonin-like, allatostatin-like, and FLRF(NH2)-like immunoreactivities within the stomatogastric nervous system of embryonic, larval, juvenile, and adult animals. The GPR neurons are peripheral sensory neurons that send proprioceptive information to the stomatogastric and commissural ganglia. In H. americanus, GPR neurons of the adult contain serotonin-like, allatostatin-like, and Phe-Leu-Arg-Phe-amide (FLRF(NH2))-like immunoreactivities. In the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the adult H. americanus and H. gammarus, all of the serotonin-like and allatostatin-like immunoreactivity colocalizes in neuropil processes that are derived exclusively from ramifications of the GPR neurons. In both species, FLRF(NH2)-like immunoreactivity was detected in the STG neuropil by 50% of embryonic development (E50). Allatostatin-like immunoreactivity was visible first in the STG at approximately E70-E80. In contrast, serotonin staining was not clearly visible until larval stage I (LI) in H. gammarus and until LII or LIII in H. americanus. These data indicate that there is a sequential acquisition of the cotransmitters of the GPR neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Digestive System / innervation
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / chemistry*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nephropidae / anatomy & histology
  • Nephropidae / chemistry*
  • Neurons, Afferent / chemistry*
  • Neuropeptides / analysis
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / analysis*


  • Neuropeptides
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • allatostatin