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Ovary ecdysteroidogenic hormone I (OEH I) is a gonadotropin in the female mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Whole-mount immunocytochemistry using OEH I antisera revealed an extensive distribution of immunostained cells in larvae and adults of this mosquito comparable to that observed in the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Medial neurosecretory cells were stained in brains of larvae and adult Ae. aegypti. In An gambiae the lateral neurosecretory cells were stained more often. In both species, immunostained axons from these cells extended out of the brain through the neurohemal organ associated with the aorta and branched extensively along the midgut. Immunostained endocrine cells were observed in larval and adult midguts of both species. In adults, abdominal metameric perivisceral organs were stained. Stained axons interconnected the perivisceral organs and neurosecretory cells in the abdominal ganglia. Episodic release of OEH I from these organs was evident in female Ae. aegypti, when staining disappeared at 12 hours after a blood meal and returned by 48 hours to levels observed before and up to 2 hours after the blood meal. Two sites were specifically stained only in An. gambiae: an axon net around the pyloric valve in the hindgut of larvae and adults and a ring of endocrine cells in the cardiac valve in the larval midgut. The markedly similar localizations of immunostained cells in larvae and adults of two distantly related species indicate that OEH I, or a homolog, is conserved within this group of Diptera and likely has stage- and sex-specific functions.
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