The medial neurosecretory cells (MNSCs) of the pars intercerebralis in the brain of insects release various hormonal factors that control essential physiological and developmental functions such as moulting, reproduction and metabolism (Wigglesworth, 1940; Girardie, 1966; Goldsworthy, 1969), and these cells are therefore of considerable biological significance. A culture system for locust embryonic pars intercerebralis neurosecretory cells has recently been developed (Vanhems et al. 1993), and Rossler and Bickmeyer (1993) have established an in vitro system for growing larval and adult medial neurosecretory cells. Calcium plays an important role in neural physiology: neurosecretion depends on calcium influx into the cells and calcium currents carry the rising phase of action potentials in different types of insect neurones (Orchard, 1976; Pitman, 1979); calcium also mediates other ionic currents (Thomas, 1984). It is therefore of considerable interest to characterize the types of calcium channel currents found in locust neurosecretory neurones.

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