Identification and characterization of neurons initiating patterned neural activity in the buccal ganglia of Aplysia

A. J. Susswein, J. H. Byrne

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Two patterns of neural activity were identified in excised buccal ganglia of Aplysia californica. Both are expressed in many cells, and each can be expressed independently. Using cells B4 and B5 as monitors of the activity patterns, we searched the buccal ganglia for cells initiating the patterns. Two electrically coupled cells, B31 and B32, can initiate what we termed pattern 2. The cells are active before pattern 2 is expressed. Stimuli initiating pattern 2 excite B31/B32. Depolarizing B31/B32 induces the pattern, while hyperpolarizing them can prevent its expression. The cells have unusual features. Their somata do not sustain conventional action potentials, and depolarization causes a regenerative response. B33 differs from B31/B32 in that its soma sustains conventional action potentials but otherwise has similar features. B34 also seems to be inexcitable but has weaker synaptic input than B31/B32 and appears unable to induce pattern 2. B35 and B36 have prominent regenerative capabilities. B35 is also able to initiate pattern 2. B37 is presynaptic to B31/B32 and can initiate pattern 2 via its effects on them. The newly identified cells provide a starting point for investigating factors that initiate and control different patterns of neural activity in the buccal ganglia. Since the buccal ganglia are involved in generating feeding behavior, further studies on the newly identified cells may provide insights into the neural control of feeding behavior, and provide a neural substrate for studying modulation of the feeding patterns by associative learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2049-2061
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes


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