A role for nitric oxide in sensory-induced neurogenesis in an adult insect brain

M. Cayre, J. Malaterre, S. Scotto-Lomassese, G. R. Holstein, G. P. Martinelli, C. Forni, S. Nicolas, A. Aouane, C. Strambi, A. Strambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In the adult cricket, neurogenesis occurs in the mushroom bodies, the main integrative structures of the insect brain. Mushroom body neuroblast proliferation is modulated in response to environmental stimuli. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects remain unspecified. In the present study, we demonstrate that electrical stimulation of the antennal nerve mimics the effects of olfactory activation and increases mushroom body neurogenesis. The putative role of nitric oxide (NO) in this activity-regulated neurogenesis was then explored. In vivo and in vitro experiments demonstrate that NO synthase inhibition decreases, and NO donor application stimulates neuroblast proliferation. NADPH-d activity, anti-L-citrulline immunoreactivity, as well as in situ hybridization with a probe specific for Acheta NO synthase were used to localize NO-producing cells. Combining these three approaches we clearly establish that mushroom body interneurons synthesize NO. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental interventions known to upregulate neuroblast proliferation modulate NO production: rearing crickets in an enriched sensory environment induces an upregulation of Acheta NO synthase mRNA, and unilateral electrical stimulation of the antennal nerve results in increased L-citrulline immunoreactivity in the corresponding mushroom body. The present study demonstrates that neural activity modulates progenitor cell proliferation and regulates NO production in brain structures where neurogenesis occurs in the adult insect. Our results also demonstrate the stimulatory effect of NO on mushroom body neuroblast proliferation. Altogether, these data strongly suggest a key role for NO in environmentally induced neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2893-2902
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2005


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