3.3.4. Isolation of the retrocerebral complex

The retrocerebral complex (RCC) is a set of neurosecretory organs that sit at the base of the brain and play a crucial role in controlling insect behaviour and physiology. The complex consists of the corpora allata (CA) and corpora cardiaca (CC), both of which are paired organs. In honey bees, the complex is located close to the subesophageal ganglion (Fig. 45.3), and forms an incomplete ring around the aorta and oesophagus (AO-ES) (Hannan, 1955).

The CA are responsible for the production and release of juvenile hormone (Goodman and Cusson, 2012). The CC are a conduit for neurosecretory cells of the brain, responsible for storing and releasing factors such as prothoracicotropic hormone, adipokinetic hormone and other regulators of metabolism and muscular activity (Woodring et al., 1994; Lorenz et al., 1999; Takeuchi et al., 2003; Audsley and Weaver, 2006; Boerjan et al., 2010).

Isolation of the RCC permits quantification of these various hormonal factors, including the in vitro measurement of the rate of synthesis and release of juvenile hormone (Rachinsky and Hartfelder, 1990; Huang et al., 1991; Hartfelder et al., 2013).

3.3.4.3. Dissection of the brain from the head capsule