Over the past decade it has become clear that the nervous systems of platyhelminths are both complex and highly developed, particularly in peptidergic elements. The central position of an ancestral flatworm in the evolution of the Bilateria has placed a greater importance on the study of modern flatworms. Using antisera generated to the C-terminal region of platyhelminth neuropeptide F and the molluscan neuropeptide, FMRFamide, in immunocytochemistry at both Light and ultrastructural levels, immunoreactivities have been localised within the nervous systems of three species of triclad turbellarians, Dugesia lugubris, Dendrocoelum lacteum, and Polycelis nigra, and one species of monogenean trematode, Diclidophora merlangi. Extensive immunostaining was obtained with both antisera throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems of all species studied, but intensity and abundance was significantly greater in the turbellarians. Indirect electron-immunogold labeling demonstrated that immunoreactivity to both neuropeptides was often colocalised in neurosecretory vesicles, although discrete populations of vesicles were also observed. Radioimmunoassay of extracts of all species confirmed that neuropeptide F immunoreactivity was consistently more abundant than FMRFamide immunoreactivity, and that the levels of both in the three turbellarians were several orders of magnitude greater than those found in the monogenean. Chromatographic analyses of turbellarian extracts revealed that neuropeptide F and FMRFamide immunoreactivities were attributable to different peptides. These data imply that the neuropeptidergic systems of turbellarians are considerably more extensive than those of monogeneans, and would suggest that a regression has occurred in the latter as a consequence of the adoption of a more sedentary parasitic lifestyle. (C) 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Neurology|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|