olyclonal antibodies were raised in rabbits against synthetic crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) conjugated to bovine thyroglobulin, and were used to map CCAP-immunoreactive structures in the central nervous system of Carcinus maenas. As expected, the neurohemal pericardial organs (PO) displayed abundant immunoreactivity in nerve fibers and terminals. In addition, immunoreactive neurons were demonstrated in other parts of the nervous system. At least some of them do not appear to terminate in neurohemal structures and may have a non-endocrine, as yet unknown function. Immunoreactive perikarya with a diameter of 25–30 m occur in the brain. They project into the optic and antennary neuropil, and into the eyestalk. One cell was found in the medulla terminalis of the eyestalk and in the connective ganglion, respectively. From the latter, axonal branches could be traced into the brain and the thoracic ganglia (TG). In the TG, small-diameter perikarya give rise to extensive networks of varicose fibers. Some of the perikarya occur in a characteristic paired arrangement with larger CCAP-immunoreactive somata (diameter 40–50 m). These pairs of one small and one large cell occur in all mouthpart and leg segments of the TG, except the abdominal ganglia (AG), where only large cells were found. The main projections of the large neurons comprise one or more fibers in each of the seven segmental nerves (SN), leading to neurosecretory terminals in the PO. The fibers in the SN are joined by branches of an ascending axonal tract from the large perikarya in the AG. The large-type perikarya are considered to be the principal source of CCAP in the PO. The optic ganglia in the eyestalk, except the medulla terminalis, the neurohemal sinus gland and the stomatogastric nervous system are devoid of CCAP-immunoreactivity.In axon terminals of the PO, CCAP is not colocalized with other PO-neuropeptides, i.e. proctolin-, FMRFamide-like, and Leu-enkephalin-like immunoreactive materials. Electron-microscopic immunocytochemistry revealed a distinct CCAP-containing granule type in specific axon profiles and terminals in the PO.The architecture of CCAP-immunoreactive neurons is discussed with respect to previous morphological studies on the origin and pathways of fibers terminating in the PO.
1988. Vol. 254, no 2, 347-360 p.