Gross anatomy of muscle and sensory/motor innervation of adult and intramolluscan developmental stages of Echinostoma caproni have been investigated to ascertain the organisation and the functional correlates of any stage-specific patterns of staining. Using indirect immunocytochemistry to demonstrate neuroactive substances and the phalloidin-fluorescence technique for staining myofibril F-actin, the muscle systems and aminergic and peptidergic innervation of daughter rediae, cercariae, metacercariae, and pre- and post-ovigerous adults were examined and compared using confocal scanning laser microscopy. A complex arrangement of specific muscle fibre systems occurs within the body wall (composed of circular, longitudinal and diagonal fibres), suckers (radial, equatorial, meridional), pharynx (radial, circular), gut caeca (mainly circular), cercarial tail (circular, pseudo-striated longitudinal), and ducts of the reproductive system (circular, longitudinal), presumed to serve locomotor, adhesive, alimentary and reproductive functions. Immunostaining for serotonin (5-HT) and FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs) was evident throughout the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems of all stages, and use of dual-labelling techniques demonstrated separate neuronal pathways for 5-HT and FaRP in both CNS and PNS. FaRP expression in the innervation of the ootype wall was demonstrated only in post-ovigerous worms and not in pre-ovigerous worms, suggesting an involvement of FaRP neuropeptides in the process of egg assembly. Comparison of the present findings with those recorded for other digeneans suggests that muscle organisation and innervation patterns in trematodes are highly conserved.
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