Neuromuscular Transmitter Substance in Insect Visceral Muscle

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Science  03 Feb 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3762, pp. 595-597
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3762.595


Stimulation of the nerves innervating the proctodeum (hindgut) of the cockroach Periplaneta americana (L.) causes a slow-type, graded contraction of the longitudinal muscles. An unidentified substance, or substances, present in the foregut and hindgut, the specific activity of which is highest in the nerves innervating these organs, effects a similar contraction. This "gut-factor" is depleted from the hindgut after surgical section of the proctodeal nerves. None of Factors P1 and P2, 5-hydroxytryptamine, acetylcholine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, α-ami-nobutyric acid or glutamate duplicates the pharmacological behavior of this substance. The active factor is associated with subcellular particles that require centrifugal forces of approximately 1,000,000 g-min for sedimentation. The substance is inactivated in homogenates of gut tissue in the absence of suitable precautions. It is proposed that the "gut-factor" functions as an excitatory neuromuscular transmitter substance in insect visceral muscle.