Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 365–376 | Cite as

Some functional properties of central neurons connected with the lateral-line organs of the catfish (Ictalurus nebulosus)

  • G. N. Andrianov
  • O. B. Ilyinsky


  1. 1.

    In the curarized catfishIctalurus nebulosus neuronal responses in the area acustico-lateralis to electrical and mechanical stimulation of the lateral-line organs were studied.

  2. 2.

    About 70% of all studied neurons were spontaneously active (0.5–7 imp/s).

  3. 3.

    Three main patters of responses to an electrical stimulus were observed: tonic, phasic-tonic and burst-discharge (Fig. 1).

  4. 4.

    The relationship between the number of impulses and the log of stimulus duration was linear (Fig. 2, 3).

  5. 5.

    Two types of neuronal responses to stimuli of opposite polarities were shown (Fig. 1,4).

  6. 6.

    Thresholds for electrical stimulation were in the range of 2.5·10−9–5·10−12 A/mm2 (Fig. 5).

  7. 7.

    All neurons are able to measure the intensity of the stimulus of any polarity (Fig. 6).

  8. 8.

    The influence of intensity to the responses of the neurons in the medulla oblongata was analyzed (Fig. 2, 7).

  9. 9.

    The neurons of the area acustico-lateralis are adapted to the analysis of rather slow than fast changes of the electric field (Fig. 8, 9).

  10. 10.

    The neurons showed dual sensitivity to electrical and mechanical stimulation of the lateral-line organs (Fig. 10). It is assumed that such a phenomenon depends on the convergence of impulses from electro- and mechanoreceptors of the lateral-line.

  11. 11.

    The properties of the central and peripheral units of the lateral-line of the catfish were compared.



Electrical Stimulation Functional Property Opposite Polarity Mechanical Stimulation Stimulus Duration 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akoev, G. N., Alekseev, N. P., Ilyinsky, O. B.: The modern view on the electroreception [in Russian]. Uspehi fisiol. nauk2, 123–142 (1971)Google Scholar
  2. Akoev, G. N., Ilyinsky, O. B.: Some functional properties of the electroreceptors (ampullae Lorenzini) in the Black Sea skates [in Russian]. Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR205, 499–501 (1972)Google Scholar
  3. Akoev, G. N., Ilyinsky, O. B., Titkov, E. S.: The comparative physiological characteristics of the electroreceptor structures in the marine and freshwater fish [in Russian]. Nejirofisiologia in press (1973)Google Scholar
  4. Bellbenoit, P.: Comportement alimentaire et décharge électrique associée chezTorpedo marmorata (Selachii, Pisces). Z. vergl. Physiol.67, 205–216 (1970)Google Scholar
  5. Bennett, M. V. L.: Mechanisms of electroreception. In: Lateral line detectors, P. Cahn (ed.), p. 313–393. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press 1967Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, M. V. L.: Electroreception. In: Fish physiology, vol. 5, W. S. Hoar and D. J. Randall, eds., p. 493–574. New York: Academic Press 1971Google Scholar
  7. Dijkgraaf, S.: The functioning and significance of the lateral-line organs. Biol. Rev.38, 51–105 (1963)Google Scholar
  8. Dijkgraaf, S.: Electroreception in the catfishAmiurus nebulosus. Experientia (Basel)24, 187–188 (1968)Google Scholar
  9. Enger, P. S., Szabo, T.: Activity of central neurons involved in electroreception in some weakly electric fish (Gymnotidae). J. Neurophysiol.28, 800–818 (1965)Google Scholar
  10. Enin, L. D., Ilyinsky, O. B.: Representation of the lateral-line nerves in the cerebellum of skates [in Russian]. Nejirofisiologia4, 192–200 (1972)Google Scholar
  11. Hagiwara, S., Kusano, K., Negishi, K.: Physiological properties of electroreceptors of some gymnotids. J. Neurophysiol.25, 430–449 (1962)Google Scholar
  12. Ilyinsky, O. B., Enin, L. D., Volkova, N. K.: Electrical activity evoked in the medulla ofR. clavata by stimulation of the lateral line nerves [in Russian]. Nejirofisiologia3, 284–292 (1971)Google Scholar
  13. Lissmann, H. W., Machin, K. E.: Electric receptors in a non-electric fish (Clarias). Nature (Lond.)199, 88–89 (1963)Google Scholar
  14. Mullinger, A. M.: The fine structure of ampullary electric receptors inAmiurus. Proc. roy. Soc. B160, 345–359 (1964)Google Scholar
  15. Murray, R. W.: Receptor mechanisms in the ampullae of Lorenzini of elasmobranch fishes. In: Cold Spr. Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol.30, 233–243 (1965)Google Scholar
  16. Murray, R. W.: Electroreceptor mechanisms: The relation of impulse frequency to stimulus strength and responses to pulsed stimulae in the ampulli of Lorenzini of elasmobranchs. J. Physiol. (Lond.)180, 592–606 (1965b)Google Scholar
  17. Nicholson, C., Llinás, R., Precht, W.: Neural elements of the cerebellum in elasmobranch fishes: structural and functional characteritics. In: Neurobiology of cerebellar evolution and development, Llinás, R., ed., p. 215–243. Chicago, Ill.: AMA Educ. Res. Found. 1969Google Scholar
  18. Parker, G. H., Heusen, A. P. van: The responses of the catfish,Amiurus nebulosus, to metallic and non-metallic rods. Amer. J. Physiol.44, 405–420 (1917)Google Scholar
  19. Pearson, A. A.: The acustico-lateral nervous system in fishes. J. comp. Neurol.64, 235–273 (1936)Google Scholar
  20. Peters, R. C., Buwalda, R. J. A.: Frequency response of the electroreceptors (“small pit organs”) of the catfish,Ictalurus nebulosus Les. J. comp. Physiol.79, 29–38 (1972)Google Scholar
  21. Roth, A.: Electroreceptors in the catfishAmiurus nebulosus. Z. vergl. Physiol.61, 196–202 (1968)Google Scholar
  22. Roth, A.: Elektrische Sinnesorgane beim ZwergwelsIctalurus nebulosus (Amiurus nebulosus). Z. vergl. Physiol.65, 368–388 (1969)Google Scholar
  23. Roth, A.: Zur Funktionsweise der Elektroreceptoren in der Haut von Welsen (Ictalurus): Der Einfluß der Ionen im Süßwasser. Z. vergl. Physiol.75, 303–322 (1971)Google Scholar
  24. Roth, A.: Wozu dienen die Elektroreceptoren der Welse? J. comp. Physiol.79, 113–135 (1972)Google Scholar
  25. Szabo, T.: Sense organs of the lateral-line system in some electric fish of the Gymnotidae, Mormyridae and Gymnarchidae. J. Morph.117, 229–249 (1965)Google Scholar
  26. Szabo, T.: Activity of peripheral and central neurons involved in electroreception. In: Lateral line detectors, Cahn, P., ed., p. 295–313. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press 1967Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. N. Andrianov
    • 1
  • O. B. Ilyinsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of the General Physiology of Reception, Pavlov Institute of PhysiologyThe Academy of Sciences of the USSRLeningrad

Personalised recommendations