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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2009 Nov;195(11):989-1009. doi: 10.1007/s00359-009-0483-y. Epub 2009 Oct 11.

Modulation of stomatogastric rhythms.

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Institute of Neurobiology, Ulm University, 89069, Ulm, Germany.


Neuromodulation by peptides and amines is a primary source of plasticity in the nervous system as it adapts the animal to an ever-changing environment. The crustacean stomatogastric nervous system is one of the premier systems to study neuromodulation and its effects on motor pattern generation at the cellular level. It contains the extensively modulated central pattern generators that drive the gastric mill (chewing) and pyloric (food filtering) rhythms. Neuromodulators affect all stages of neuronal processing in this system, from membrane currents and synaptic transmission in network neurons to the properties of the effector muscles. The ease with which distinct neurons are identified and their activity is recorded in this system has provided considerable insight into the mechanisms by which neuromodulators affect their target cells and modulatory neuron function. Recent evidence suggests that neuromodulators are involved in homeostatic processes and that the modulatory system itself is under modulatory control, a fascinating topic whose surface has been barely scratched. Future challenges include exploring the behavioral conditions under which these systems are activated and how their effects are regulated.

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