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Annu Rev Physiol. 2007;69:291-316.

Understanding circuit dynamics using the stomatogastric nervous system of lobsters and crabs.

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  • 1Volen Center and Biology Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.


Studies of the stomatogastric nervous systems of lobsters and crabs have led to numerous insights into the cellular and circuit mechanisms that generate rhythmic motor patterns. The small number of easily identifiable neurons allowed the establishment of connectivity diagrams among the neurons of the stomatogastric ganglion. We now know that (a) neuromodulatory substances reconfigure circuit dynamics by altering synaptic strength and voltage-dependent conductances and (b) individual neurons can switch among different functional circuits. Computational and experimental studies of single-neuron and network homeostatic regulation have provided insight into compensatory mechanisms that can underlie stable network performance. Many of the observations first made using the stomatogastric nervous system can be generalized to other invertebrate and vertebrate circuits.

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