Neuropeptides in the SALMFamide family serve as muscle relaxants in echinoderms and may affect locomotion, as the motor behavior in sea cucumbers involves alternating contraction and extension of the body wall, which is under the control of longitudinal muscle. We evaluated the effect of an L-type SALMFamide neuropeptide (LSA) on locomotory performance of Apostichopus japonicus. We also investigated the metabolites of longitudinal muscle tissue using ultra performance liquid chromatography and quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF-MS) to assess the potential physiological mechanisms underlying the effect of LSA. The hourly distance, cumulative duration and number of steps that moved significantly increased in sea cucumbers in the 4th h after injection with LSA. Also, the treatment enhanced the mean and maximum velocity by 9.8% and 17.8%, and increased the average stride by 12.4%. Levels of 27 metabolites in longitudinal muscle changed after LSA administration, and the increased concentrations of pantothenic acid, arachidonic acid and lysophosphatidylethanolamine, and the altered value of phosphatidylethanolamine/phosphatidylcholine are potential physiological mechanisms that could explain the observed effect of LSA on locomotor behavior in A. japonicus.

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