Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 195, Issue 4, pp 351–363 | Cite as

Antennal motor activity induced by pilocarpine in the American cockroach

  • Jiro OkadaEmail author
  • Yusuke Morimoto
  • Yoshihiro Toh
Original Paper


The antennal motor system is activated by the muscarinic agonist pilocarpine in the American cockroach Periplaneta americana, and its output patterns were examined both in restrained intact animals and in isolated CNS preparations. The three-dimensional antennal movements induced by the hemocoelic drug injection were analyzed in in vivo preparations. Pilocarpine effectively induced prolonged rhythmic movements of both antennae. The antennae tended to describe a spatially patterned trajectory, forming loops or the symbol of infinity (∞). Such spatial regularity is comparable to that during spontaneous tethered-walking. Rhythmic bursting activities of the antennal motor nerves in in vitro preparations were also elicited by bath application of pilocarpine. Cross-correlation analyses of the bursting spike activities revealed significant couplings among certain motor units, implying the spatial regularity of the antennal trajectory. The pilocarpine-induced rhythmic activity of antennal motor nerves was effectively suppressed by the muscarinic antagonist atropine. These results indicate that the activation of the antennal motor system is mediated by muscarinic receptors.


Insect Antenna Motor system Muscarinic Pilocarpine 



Antennal muscle


Antennal motor nerve


Abductor of the scape


Adductor of the scape


Levator of the scape


Levator of the pedicel


Depressor of the pedicel


Correlation index


Central pattern generator


Injected drug concentration


Final drug concentration



This study was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) from JSPS (17570063 and 19570070) and the Yamada Science Foundation to J.O.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Graduate School of SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental StudiesNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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