The nervous system (NS) of the cestodes Diphyllobothrium dendriticum (Diphyllobothriidea) and Caryophyllaeus laticeps (Caryophyllidea) was investigated using immunocytochemistry. The GABA neurotransmitter was identified in the NS of both species; GABAergic neurons were detected in the main nerve cords (MC). GABA-like immunoreactive neurons were predominantly unipolar and exhibited more intensive immunoreactivity in the neurite than in the perikaryon. In C. laticeps, GABA-like immunoreactive somas are located in both the MCs and peripheral NS near the longitudinal muscles. The innervation of the body musculature was studied using a combination of antibodies against GABA, serotonin (5-HT), and FMRFamide and with complementary staining of F-actin. In both species, the location of GABAergic neurites is associated with all muscle layers including the subtegumental, longitudinal, transverse, and dorsoventral muscles. The cytomorphology of 5-HTergic motoneurons in the MCs of both species is described and differences in muscle innervation between D. dendriticum and C. laticeps are demonstrated. No evidence for co-localization of GABA with 5-HT or FMRFamide neurotransmitters at any particular neuron was found. Neuropiles in MCs and peripheral NS had separate sets of immunoreactive neurites. A functional role for GABA in muscle innervation is discussed.

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