Aminergic neurons in the brain of blowflies and Drosophila: dopamine- and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons and their relationship with putative histaminergic neurons

Cell Tissue Res. 1992 Jan;267(1):147-67. doi: 10.1007/BF00318701.


The distribution and morphology of neurons reacting with antisera against dopamine (DA), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and histamine (HA) were analyzed in the blowflies Calliphora erythrocephala and Phormia terraenovae. TH-immunoreactive (THIR) and HA-immunoreactive (HAIR) neurons were also mapped in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. The antisera against DA and TH specifically labeled the same neurons in the blowflies. About 300 neurons displayed DA immunoreactivity (DAIR) and THIR in the brain and subesophageal ganglion of the blowflies. Most of these neurons were located in bilateral clusters; some were distributed as bilateral pairs, and two ventral unpaired median (VUM) neurons were seen in the subesophageal ganglion. Immunoreactive processes were found in all compartments of the mushroom bodies except the calyces, in all divisions of the central body complex, in the medulla, lobula and lobula plate of the optic lobe, and in non-glomerular neuropil of protocerebrum, tritocerebrum and the subesophageal ganglion. No DA or TH immunoreactivity was seen in the antennal lobes. In Drosophila, neurons homologous to the blowfly neurons were detected with the TH antiserum. In Phormia and Drosophila, 18 HA-immunoreactive neurons were located in the protocerebrum and 2 in the subesophageal ganglion. The HAIR neurons arborized extensively, but except for processes in the lobula, all HAIR processes were seen in non-glomerular neuropil. The deuto- and tritocerebrum was devoid of HAIR processes. Double labeling experiments demonstrated that TH and HA immunoreactivity was not colocalized in any neuron. In some regions there was, however, substantial superposition between the two systems. The morphology of the extensively arborizing aminergic neurons described suggests that they have modulatory functions in the brain and subesophageal ganglion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Diptera / anatomy & histology
  • Diptera / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Histamine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine