Peptide and steroid regulation of muscle degeneration in an insect

Science  12 Mar 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4538, pp. 1420-1421
DOI: 10.1126/science.6278594


Two types of cell death occur in the intersegmental muscles of the giant silkmoth Antheraea polyphemus. The first results from a slow atrophy of the fibers, and the second is a rapid, programmed dissolution of the muscle. Both types appear to be mediated by endocrine factors. The slow atrophy is brought about by the decline in the steroid molting hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone and can be prevented with exogenous steroid. The rapid degeneration is triggered by the peptide eclosion hormone, but the sensitivity of the muscle to the peptide depends on the history of exposure of the muscle to 20-hydroxyecdysone.