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The neuroendocrine system of annelids

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In vertebrates the neuroendocrine system is based on chemical signaling between neural and endocrine structures. Final outcomes may be realized via chemical messengers traveling through circulatory conduits to their specific target sites. This process may rely, in part, on neurosecretion of the signaling molecules. The complexity of this system can be readily visualized when one considers the way in which interactions among classical neurotransmitters, cytokines, growth factors, and neuroendocrine hormones, in combination with autocrine and paracrine communication, can regulate cells and tissues. Apart from the neuroendocrine system there is also neuroimmune communication, consisting of reciprocal signaling between neuroendocrine and immune cells, which use the same molecules to coordinate their activity. Thus, our concept of the neuroendocrine system is constantly growing, despite its complexity, but it may be simply summarized as allowing bidirectional communication between neural and endocrine structures over distances greater than that achieved by synaptic communication. In the light of this, I demonstrate in this review that annelids, which are considered "simple" animals, also possess a neuroendocrine system.

Chez les vertébrés, le système endocrinien est basé sur l'échange de signaux chimiques entre les neurones et les structures endocriniennes. Le résultat final peut être obtenu via les messages chimiques envoyés des conduits circulatoires à des sites cibles spécifiques. Ce processus dépend en partie de la neurosécrétion des molécules signalisatrices. La complexité de ce système peut se visualiser facilement si on se rappelle de quelle façon les interactions entre les neurotransmetteurs classiques, le cytokines, les facteurs de croissance et les hormones neuroendocriniennes, avec les communications autocrine et paracrine, peuvent assurer le contrôle des cellules et des tissus. Outre le système endocrinien, il existe un système de communication neuroimmunitaire dans lequel il y a échange de signaux entre les cellules endocriniennes et les cellules immunitaires, qui utilisent les mêmes molécules pour coordonner leur activité. Par conséquent, notre conception du système endocrinien est constamment remise en question, vu sa complexité, mais peut se résumer simplement comme étant la résultante des communications bidirectionnelles entre les systèmes nerveux et endocrinien sur une distance plus grande que celle qui prévaut en communication synaptique. En tenant compte de cela, nous démontrons dans cette synthèse que les annélides, qui sont considérés comme des animaux simples, possèdent un système neuroendocrinien.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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