With serotonin immunocytochemistry we have demonstrated an extensive plexus of immuno-reactive varicose fibres in the neural sheath of the nervous system of the blowfly, Calliphora. These fibres are located in the neural sheath of the following regions: the maxillary-labial and labrofrontal nerves of the cerebral ganglia, the cervical connective, the dorsal surface of the thoracicoabdominal ganglia, two pairs of prothoracic nerves and the median abdominal nerve. We identified the serotonin-immunoreactive neural processes in the electron microscope by means of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase method. Immunoreactivity was seen in large granular vesicles (ca 100 nm), on membranes of smaller (ca 60 nm) and larger (ca100 nm) agranular vesicles, along the inner surface of the axolemma, along neurotubules and outer membranes of mitochondria. By conventional electron microscopy we found numerous varicose neural processes in the neural sheath of some of the above regions. These varicosities are of at least two types. One type corresponds to the serotonin-immunoreactive profiles. A second type contains large granular vesicles (ca 200 nm) of variable electron density. 5,7-Dihydroxytryptamine injected into the head capsule labelled varicosities in the neural sheath, corresponding to the ones identified with serotonin immunocytochemistry. The electron-dense labelling was seen in flattened vesicles within these varicosities. We propose that the serotonin-immunoreactive fibers in the neural sheath constitute neurohemal regions for the release of serotonin into the circulation. The finding of another morphological type of varicose fibers in the neural sheath suggests the presence of further putative neurohormones in these regions.
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