The neuropeptide eclosion hormone triggers ecdysis behavior in lepidopteran insects. We have previously shown that the eclosion hormone stimulates the formation of two intracellular second messengers, cGMP and inositol(1,4,5)trisphosphate in the abdominal ganglia of Bombyx mori. In order to elucidate the intracellular signaling pathway involving these second messengers, we studied the eclosion hormone-mediated signal transduction using saponin-treated abdominal ganglia. We obtained the following results; i) eclosion hormone activated nitric oxide synthase, ii) the eclosion hormone-induced cGMP increase was inhibited by various enzyme inhibitors such as NG-nitro-arginine; a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, EGTA; a calcium chelating reagent, W-5; a calmodulin inhibitor and compound 48/80; a phospholipase C inhibitor and iii) the inositol(1,4,5)-trisphosphate stimulated the formation of cGMP, in the Bombyx abdominal ganglia. Based on these findings we tentatively propose a hypothetical pathway: The signal initially triggered by eclosion hormone and eclosion hormone receptor complex induces activation of phospholipase C which produces inositol(1,4,5)trisphosphate. Inositol(1,4,5)trisphosphate increases intracellular Ca2+, followed by subsequent activation of nitric oxide synthase through the formation of Ca(2+)-calmodulin complex. The reaction product, nitric oxide acts on soluble guanylate cyclase to stimulate cGMP formation which induces the ecdysis behavior in Bombyx pharate adults.