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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2008 Apr;194(4):341-60. doi: 10.1007/s00359-007-0310-2. Epub 2008 Jan 5.

Multi-unit recording of antennal mechano-sensitive units in the central complex of the cockroach, Blaberus discoidalis.

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Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH, 44106-7080, USA.


The central complex (CC) is a group of midline neuropils in the protocerebrum of all insects (Williams, J Zool, 176:67-86, 1975; Strausfeld, Prog Brain Res, 123:273-284, 1999). Its columnar organization coupled with the anatomical tracts to and from this region suggests that the CC may supervise various forms of locomotion. In cockroach, lesions of the CC affect turning and controlled climbing over blocks (Ridgel et al., J Comp Physiol A, 193:385-402, 2007). Since these behaviors are largely directed by tactile cues detected by antennae, we predicted that some neurons in the CC respond to mechanical antennal stimulation. We used 16-channel probes to record from broad regions within the CC, while mechanically stimulating one or the other antenna. Using cluster cutting procedures, we examined 277 units in 31 preparations. Many of these units responded to mechanical stimulation of the antennae, and of these, most responded equally well to medial or lateral stimulation of either antenna. However, several units either responded to only one antenna or responded significantly more strongly to one of them. Most of the units responding to antennal stimulation were sensitive to changes in the velocity as well as changes in light. Our data reveal a large population of mult-sensory neurons in the CC that could contribute to locomotion control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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