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J Comp Physiol A. 2000 Mar;186(3):307-13.

Octopamine modulates the sensitivity of silkmoth pheromone receptor neurons.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie Seewiesen, Starnberg, Germany.


Effects of octopamine and its antagonist epinastine on electrophysiological responses of receptor neurons of Antheraea polyphemus specialised to the pheromone components (E,Z)-6,11-hexadecadienyl acetate and (E,Z)-6,11-hexadecadienal were investigated. Injections of octopamine and epinastine into the moths had no effect on the transepithelial potential of the antennal-branch preparation nor on the spontaneous nerve impulse frequency in either type of receptor neuron. However, in the presence of continuous low-intensity pheromone stimulation, octopamine significantly increased the nerve impulse frequency in the acetate receptor neuron, but not in the aldehyde receptor neuron. Octopamine and epinastine had no significant effect on the receptor potential amplitudes elicited in both receptor neuron types by pheromone stimulation. However, the peak nerve impulse frequency in the response of both receptor neuron types to pheromone was significantly affected: decreased by epinastine and increased by octopamine over a broad range of pheromone concentrations. In control experiments, injection of physiological saline did not significantly alter the peak nerve impulse frequency. The effect of octopamine was established within 1 h after injection and persisted for about 4 h. The possibility of a direct action of octopamine on the nerve impulse generation by the receptor neurons is discussed.

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