Octopamine enhances neuromuscular transmission in developing and adult moths, Manduca sexta

J Neurobiol. 1985 May;16(3):227-43. doi: 10.1002/neu.480160307.


The effect of octopamine on neuromuscular transmission was examined in developing and adult Manduca sexta. Intracellular recordings were made from the dorsal longitudinal muscle (DLM), superfused with solutions containing DL-octopamine or other amines. In untreated adult moths and pharate adults nearly ready to enclose (stage Day 19), stimulation of the motor nerve evokes a large excitatory junction potential (EJP), an active membrane response, and a twitch. In adults and Day 19 animals DL-octopamine (10(-7) to 10(-4)M) has no effect on the amplitude and rise-time of the electrical response in normal saline, but 10(-6) to 10(-4) M DL-octopamine increases the amplitude of the excitatory junction potential recorded in saline containing one-third the normal calcium concentration. Immature (Day 16) muscle, which normally produces only small EJPs following stimulation of its motor nerve, responds to 10(-6) to 10(-4) M DL-octopamine by an increase in the EJP above threshold for an active membrane response and a contraction. When the muscle has developed sufficiently to spike and contract in response to nerve stimulation in the absence of exogenous octopamine (Days 17 and 18), application of DL-octopamine increases the maximum rate at which the muscle contracts in response to each stimulus in a train (designated the maximum following frequency, MFF). The threshold dose for an effect on the MFF of Day 18 immature moths is less than 10(-10) M. At this stage 10(-8) M DL-octopamine increases the MFF four-fold. The effect on the MFF is dose-dependent over the range 10(-10) M to 10(-6) M. The biogenic amines DL-epinephrine, DL-norepinephrine, tyramine, DL-phenylethanolamine, 2-phenylethylamine, and dopamine, applied at concentrations of 10(-8) or 10(-4) M, do not change the MFF. Both DL-synephrine (10(-8) M) and serotonin (10(-7) M) mimic the action of 10(-10) M DL-octopamine on the MFF. The action of DL-octopamine (10(-7) M) is blocked by phentolamine (10(-4)M) but not by propranolol (10(-4)M). The octopamine content of hemolymph was determined with a radioenzymtic assay. The concentration of octopamine in the hemolymph increases 3.6-fold, from 5 X 10(-8) M on Day 18 (duration of adult development is 19 days) to 1.85 X 10(-7) M one day following eclosion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Flight, Animal
  • Hemolymph / metabolism
  • Lepidoptera / physiology*
  • Moths / physiology*
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Neuromuscular Junction / drug effects*
  • Octopamine / metabolism
  • Octopamine / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Biogenic Amine*
  • Sympatholytics / pharmacology
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Biogenic Amine
  • Sympatholytics
  • norsynephrine receptor
  • Octopamine