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Behav Neural Biol. 1987 Nov;48(3):394-407.

Motor control of the appetitive phase of feeding behavior in Aplysia.

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Center for Neurobiology & Behavior, Columbia University, N.Y.S. Psychiatric Institute, NY 10032.


The appetitive phase of feeding behavior, in the gastropod, Aplysia, consists of head lifting, head waving, orientation of the head to food, and locomotion. We have initiated studies of the neural control of head waving using three methods: (i) anatomical description of the nerves innervating muscles that are involved in head movement, (ii) electrical stimulation of nerves in a semi-intact preparation, and (iii) recording from nerves in free-moving animals. The muscles controlling head movements, located in the dorsal and lateral neck region, are innervated primarily by pleural nerve 1 and pedal nerves 2, 3, and 5. Electrical stimulation of these nerves caused both longitudinal and lateral contractions of the neck muscles, the largest contractions being in the area where the nerve first enters the muscle. Extracellular recordings from pleural nerve 1 and pedal nerves, in free-moving animals, showed an increase in extracellular activity during head lifting, at the onset of appetitive feeding behavior. Directionally specific inhibition and excitation in neural activity occurred in pleural nerve 1 and pedal nerve 5 during leftward and rightward movements of the head (head waving). Cobalt and nickel backfills of pleural nerve 1 and pedal nerve 5 revealed cell bodies in the cerebral, pedal, and pleural ganglia. The neurons are therefore putative motor neurons for the neck muscles involved in appetitive behavior. This evidence suggests that appetitive control of feeding may involve the coordinated activity of several different ganglia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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