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J Comp Neurol. 2005 Apr 4;484(2):234-48.

Central inhibitory microcircuits controlling spike propagation into sensory terminals.

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School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3US, United Kingdom.


The phenomenon of afferent presynaptic inhibition has been intensively studied in the sensory neurons of the chordotonal organ from the coxobasal joint (CBCO) of the crayfish leg. This has revealed that it has a number of discrete roles in these afferents, mediated by distinct populations of interneurons. Here we examine further the effect of presynaptic inhibition on action potentials in the CBCO afferents and investigate the nature of the synapses that mediate it. In the presence of picrotoxin, the action potential amplitude is increased and its half-width decreased, and a late depolarizing potential following the spike is increased in amplitude. Ultrastructural examination of the afferent terminals reveals that synaptic contacts on terminal branches are particularly abundant in the neuropil close to the main axon. Many of the presynaptic terminals contain small agranular vesicles, are of large diameter, and are immunoreactive for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These terminals are sometimes seen to make reciprocal connections with the afferents. Synaptic contacts from processes immunoreactive for glutamate are found on small-diameter afferent terminals. A few of the presynaptic processes contain numerous large granular vesicles and are immunoreactive for neither GABA nor glutamate. The effect that the observed reciprocal synapses might have was investigated by using a multicompartmental model of the afferent terminal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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