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J Neurophysiol. 1995 Jul;74(1):437-52.

Distributed amine modulation of graded chemical transmission in the pyloric network of the lobster stomatogastric ganglion.

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Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca 14853, USA.


1. In the pyloric network of the lobster stomatogastric ganglion, graded synapses organize the network output. The amines dopamine (DA), serotonin, and octopamine each elicit a distinctive motor pattern from a quiescent pyloric network. We have examined the effects of these amines on the graded synaptic strengths between the six major types of neurons of this network to understand how amine modulation of synaptic strength contributes to the amine-induced motor patterns. Here we tested amine affects at 10 different graded chemical synapses of the pyloric network. We show that each amine has a statistically different spectrum of distributed effects across the network synapses. 2. Under our control conditions (isolated pairs of neurons, removal of modulatory input), most of the graded chemical synapses were weak and some synapses were nonfunctional. The output synapses of the ventricular dilator (VD) neuron were significantly stronger than the other synapses. 3. DA altered the synaptic strength of every graded chemical synapse. This amine strengthened the weak chemical output synapses of the anterior burster (AB), lateral pyloric (LP), and pyloric constrictor (PY) neurons and weakened (and in some cases abolished) the strong chemical output synapses of the VD neuron. The AB-->inferior cardiac neuron (IC) and PY-->IC graded chemical synapses were nonfunctional under our control conditions; DA activated these silent synapses. 4. Serotonin enhanced the AB's output chemical synapses but weakened all the other graded chemical synapses examined. Octopamine's effects were much weaker than those of the other two amines. It enhanced the AB-->LP synapse and the LP's output synapses and weakly strengthened the AB-->PY, VD-->LP, and VD-->PY synapses. 5. The amines alter the input resistance of many of the pyloric neurons, and this could contribute to the observed changes in synaptic strength by altering passive current flow between input and output sites in the cells. However, the input resistance changes were relatively small compared with the changes in synaptic strength and cannot alone account for the synaptic modulation. In some cases the sign of the input resistance change was inconsistent with the change in synaptic strength. Thus the amines appear to modify synaptic transmission directly in this system. 6. This study completes our description of amine effects on all the graded synapses of the pyloric network. We summarize our present and earlier work to show that modulators can reconfigure the entire synaptic organization of a neural network by acting at many distributed synaptic sites.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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