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Immunocytochemical demonstration of peptidergic and serotoninergic components in the enteric nervous system of the roundworm, Ascaris suum (Nematoda, Ascaroidea)

  • D. J. A. Brownlee (a1), I. Fairweather (a1), C. F. Johnston (a2) and C. Shaw (a2)


The localization and distribution of neuropeptides and an indoleamine (serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine) in the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the pig roundworm, Ascaris suum, have been determined by the application of an indirect immunofluorescence technique in conjunction with confocal scanning laser microscopy. Whole-mount preparations of pharyngeal, intestinal and rectal regions were screened with antisera to 23 vertebrate peptides, 2 invertebrate peptides and serotonin (= 5-HT). Positive immunoreactivity (IR) was obtained with antisera to pancreatic polypeptide (PP), peptide YY (PYY), FMRFamide, gastrin and serotonin. The only IR observed in the ENS was that evident in the nerve supply to the pharynx and rectal region; no IR was associated with any region of the intestine. The most extensive patterns of IR occurred with antisera to PYY, FMRFamide and serotonin. In the pharyngeal component of the ENS, IR was evident in the lateral and dorsal longitudinal pharyngeal nerves, pharyngeal commissures, nerve plexus, and associated nerve cells and fibres. In contrast, the distribution of IR to the PP and gastrin antisera was more restricted and displayed a lower intensity of immunostaining. The other component of the ENS, the rectal enteric system, only yielded immunostaining to FMRFamide. The possible role of neuropeptides and serotonin in the nutritional biology of nematodes is discussed.



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Immunocytochemical demonstration of peptidergic and serotoninergic components in the enteric nervous system of the roundworm, Ascaris suum (Nematoda, Ascaroidea)

  • D. J. A. Brownlee (a1), I. Fairweather (a1), C. F. Johnston (a2) and C. Shaw (a2)


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