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J Comp Physiol A. 1991 Dec;169(6):653-62.

Filter characteristics of cercal afferents in the cockroach.

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Wako Research Center, Honda R&D Co. Ltd., Saitama, Japan.


The response dynamics of cercal afferents in the cockroach. Periplaneta americana, were determined by means of a cross-correlation technique using a Gaussian white noise modulation of wind as a stimulus. The white noise stimulus could evoke sustained firing activity in most of the afferents examined (Fig. 1). The spike discharges were unitized and then cross-correlated with the stimulus to compute 1st- and 2nd-order Weiner kernels. The 1st-order kernels from a total of 28 afferents were biphasic and closely matched the time differential of a pulse (Figs. 1, 3 and 4). The amplitude and waveform of the kernels depended on the stimulus angle in such a way that the kernels were the mirror image of those on the polar opposite side (Figs. 2 and 3). The 2nd-order kernels were also differential. They had 2 diagonal peaks and 2 off-diagonal valleys in a 2-dimensional plot with 2 time axes (Figs. 1, 5 and 6). This 4-eye configuration was basically invariant irrespective of the stimulus angle, although the kernels varied in amplitude when the stimulus angle was changed. The time between the peak and a following trough of the 1st-order kernel was constant and had a mean of 4.6 +/- 0.1 ms, whereas the time between 2 diagonal peaks of the 2nd-order kernels was 4.7 +/- 0.1 ms (Figs. 4 and 6), suggesting that wind receptors (filiform sensilla) on cerci act as a band-pass filter with a peak frequency of about 106 Hz. The peak time, however, varies from 2.3 to 6.9 ms in both kernels, which may reflect the spatial distribution of the corresponding hairs on the cercus. The summation of the 1st- (linear) and 2nd-order (nonlinear) models precisely predicted the timing of the spike firing (Fig. 8). Thus, these 2 lower-order kernels can totally characterize the response dynamics of the wind receptors. The nonlinear response explains the directional sensitivity of the sensory neurons, while the differentiating 1st-order kernel explains the velocity sensitivity of the neurons. The nonlinearity is a signal compression in which one of the diagonal peaks of the 2nd-order kernel always offsets the downward phase of the 1st-order kernel (Fig. 7) and obviously represents a half-wave rectification property of the wind receptors that are excited by hair movement in only one direction and inhibited by hair movement in the polar opposite direction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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