Steroid hormones and the reorganization of the nervous system during insect metamorphosis

Richard B. Levine, Susan E. Fahrbach, Janis C. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Changes in the structure and function of identified neurons during insect metamorphosis that are linked to the gain or loss of specific elements of behavior are controlled by the steroid hormone, 20-hydroxyecdysone. Three approaches are being used to determine which cells are primary targets for steroid hormones: localized hormone manipulations, direct exposure of identified neurons to ecdysteroids in vitro and steroid hormone autoradiography. Identified neurons display an array of responses to steroids, which may have different thresholds and be subject to other regulatory influences. The current challenge is to link our understanding of the hormonally dependent cellular changes in identified neurons to emerging information about the molecular basis of ecdysteroid action and the regulation of cell fate in insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • Manduca
  • dendrites
  • ecdysteroid receptor
  • programmed neuron death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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