Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and urocortin (Ucn) are both members of the CRF neuropeptide family. The distribution of Ucn- and CRF-like immunoreactive (ir) structures in the central nervous system of several vertebrate species has been studied, but little is known about that in non-vertebrates. We used a highly specific polyclonal antibody against rat Ucn and CRF to determine and compare the distribution of Ucn- and CRF-like immunoreactivity in the earthworm nervous system. Several Ucn- and CRF-like ir perikarya were described in the cerebral ganglion, subesophageal and ventral cord ganglia. The majority of Ucn-like ir cells were found in the ventral ganglia, whereas CRF-like ir cells were most abundant in the cerebral ganglion. Scattered Ucn- and CRF-like ir varicose fiber terminals were seen in all areas of the earthworm central nervous system. Ucn-like ir cell bodies and fiber terminals were also demonstrated in the pharyngeal wall. No co-localization of Ucn- and CRF-like ir nervous structures were observed. This study provided morphological evidence that Ucn- and CRF-like neurosecretory products exist in the earthworm central nervous system. Furthermore, both the distribution and morphology of Ucn- and CRF-like ir structures were distinct, therefore, it can be hypothesized that these neuropeptides exert different neurendocrine functions in the earthworm nervous system.
- Nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience