The prophenoloxidase cascade in the haemolymph of mature adult Locusta migratoria migratorioides (R & F) is activated in response to injection of laminarin, a -1,3 glucan. Co-injection of adipokinetic hormone-I (Lom-AKH-I) and laminarin prolongs the activation of the enzyme in a dose-dependent manner. However, injections of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) do not activate prophenoloxidase unless AKH is co-injected, when there is a dose-dependent increase in the level of phenoloxidase that persists in the haemolymph for several hours. Even when AKH is co-injected, the highest levels of phenoloxidase activity are always greater after injection of laminarin than after LPS, and these two immunogens must activate the prophenoloxidase cascade by quite distinct pathways. In the present study, interactions between the endocrine and immune systems were examined with respect to activation of prophenoloxidase and the formation of nodules: injection of LPS induces nodule formation in adult locusts. With LPS from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, nodules form exclusively in dense accumulations in the anterior portion of the abdomen on either side of the dorsal blood vessel associated with the dorsal diaphragm. However, with LPS from Escherichia coli, fewer nodules are formed but with a similar distribution, except that occasionally some nodules are aligned additionally on either side of the ventral nerve cord. Co-injection of Lom-AKH-I with LPS from either bacteria stimulates greater numbers of nodules to be formed. This effect of coinjection of AKH on nodule formation is seen at low doses of hormone with only 0.3 or 0.4 pmol of Lom-AKH-1, respectively, increasing the number of nodules by 50%. Injections of octopamine or 5-hydroxytryptamine do not mimic either of the actions of Lom-AKH-I described here. Co-injection of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, captopril, reduces nodule formation in response to injections of LPS but has no effect on the activation of phenoloxidase. Co-injection of an inhibitor of eicosanoid synthesis, dexamethasone, with LPS influences nodule formation (with or without AKH) in different ways according to the dose of dexamethasone used, but does not affect activation of prophenoloxidase. Eicosanoid synthesis is important for nodule formation, but not for the activation of the prophenoloxidase cascade in locust haemolymph
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