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J Comp Neurol. 2011 Jul 1;519(10):1894-913. doi: 10.1002/cne.22607.

Peripheral sensory cells in the cephalic sensory organs of Lymnaea stagnalis.

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Department of Biology, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G 2W5, Canada.


The peripheral nervous system in gastropods plays a key role in the neural control of behaviors, but is poorly studied in comparison with the central nervous system. Peripheral sensory neurons, although known to be widespread, have been studied in a patchwork fashion across several species, with no comprehensive treatment in any one species. We attempted to remedy this limitation by cataloging peripheral sensory cells in the cephalic sensory organs of Lymnaea stagnalis employing backfills, vital stains, histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry. By using at least two independent methods to corroborate observations, we mapped four different cell types. We have found two different populations of bipolar sensory cells that appear to contain catecholamines(s) and histamine, respectively. Each cell had a peripheral soma, an epithelial process bearing cilia, and a second process projecting to the central nervous system. We also found evidence for two populations of nitric oxide-producing sensory cells, one bipolar, probably projecting centrally, and the second unipolar, with only a single epithelial process and no axon. The various cell types are presumably either mechanosensory or chemosensory, but the complexity of their distributions does not allow formation of hypotheses regarding modality. In addition, our observations indicate that yet more peripheral sensory cell types are present in the cephalic sensory organs of L. stagnalis. These results are an important step toward linking sensory cell morphology to modality. Moreover, our observations emphasize the size of the peripheral nervous system in gastropods, and we suggest that greater emphasis be placed on understanding its role in gastropod neuroethology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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