Haematophagous insects can ingest large quantities of blood in a single meal producing a large quantity of urine in the following hours to eliminate the excess of water and mineral ions incorporated. The excretory activity of the Malpighian tubules is facilitated by an increase in haemolymph circulation as a result of the intensification of aorta contractions, combined with an increase of anterior midgut peristaltic waves. We have recently shown that haemolymph circulation during post-prandial diuresis is modulated by the synergistic activity of allatotropin (AT) and serotonin, resulting in an increase in aorta and crop contraction rates. In the present study we describe the antagonistic effect of allatostatin-C (AST-C) on the increase of aorta frequency of contractions induced by serotonin/AT in Rhodnius prolixus. The administration of AST-C counteracted the increase in the frequency induced by the treatment with serotonin/AT, but did not affect the increase in frequency induced by the administration of serotonin alone, suggesting that AST-C is altering the synergism between serotonin and AT. Furthermore, the administration of AST-C during post-prandial diuresis decreases the number of peristaltic waves of the anterior midgut. The AST-C putative receptor is expressed in the hindgut, midgut and dorsal vessel, three critical organs involved in post-prandial diuresis. All together these findings provide evidence that AST-C plays a key role as a myoregulatory and cardioregulatory peptide in R. prolixus.
Keywords: Allatostatin-C; Allatotropin; Cardioregulatory; Myoregulatory; Neuropeptides; Peptides; Rhodnius prolixus.
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