Intracellular recordings were obtained from the somata of identified abdominal postural motor neurons in lobster to examine their subthreshold and suprathreshold responses to tactile stimulation of the swimmeret.
Pressure stimulation of the swimmeret surface evoked abdominal extension by producing tonic spiking in the extensor excitors and the synergistic flexor inhibitor (f5) and hyperpolarizing responses in the extensor inhibitor and antagonistic flexor excitors. These responses often continued for several seconds following the termination of the stimulus. The receptive fields of these motor responses extended over most of the swimmeret surface.
More localized tactile stimulation of the swimmeret surface elicited EPSPs in f5 and the extensor excitors, and IPSPs in the flexor excitors. The amplitude of these synaptic potentials decreased as the stimulus intensity was reduced.
Stimulation of feathered hair (both sexes) and smooth hair (female only) sensilla produced responses characteristic of extension whereas bristly spines on the male accessory lobe excited only two flexor excitors without affecting any of the other postural motor neurons.
Summed synaptic responses recorded from the motor neurons differed in their amplitudes and latencies according to the type of mechanoreceptor stimulated — cuticular receptors, feathered hairs or smooth hairs. Stimulation of the swimmeret cuticle produced the strongest responses (shortest latency, largest amplitude), while feathered hair stimulation initiated the weakest responses (longest latency, smallest amplitude).
The relatively long latencies (>35 ms) and the complex form of the EPSPs and IPSPs indicate the involvement of multisynaptic interneuronal pathways in the reflex arcs.
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Kotak, V.C., Page, C.H. Synaptic responses produced in lobster abdominal postural motor neurons by mechanical stimulation of the swimmeret. J. Comp. Physiol. 161, 695–703 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00605010
- Receptive Field
- Tactile Stimulation
- Longe Latency
- Intracellular Recording
- Synaptic Response