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J Neurocytol. 1993 Jul;22(7):547-57.

GABA-immunoreactivity in processes presynaptic to the terminals of afferents from a locust leg proprioceptor.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Wales, Cardiff, UK.


Individually labelled sensory neurons from the femoral chordotonal organ, a proprioceptor at the femoro-tibial joint of a locust hindleg, were analysed by intracellular recording, and by electron microscopical immunocytochemistry to reveal the arrangement of their input and output synapses and to determine whether the input synapses were GABAergic. Intracellular recordings from these sensory neurons show spikes superimposed on a barrage of synaptic potentials during movements of the femoro-tibial joint. These synaptic inputs can be mimicked by GABA. Input synapses are made onto the vesicle-containing terminals of afferents and are often closely associated with the output synapses. By contrast, the axons of the afferents in the neuropil have no vesicles and neither make nor receive synapses. The input synapses to the afferent terminals are made from processes typically a few microns in diameter, whereas the output synapses are made onto much smaller processes of only 0.1-0.2 micron. Input synapses at which an afferent terminal is the only postsynaptic element are common. Where the synapse is dyadic the second postsynaptic element does not usually appear to be a chordotonal afferent. The output synapses from the afferent terminals are usually dyadic. At 78% of the input synapses, the presynaptic neurite showed immunoreactivity to a GABA antibody, supporting the physiological evidence that the presynaptic effects can be mediated by the release of GABA. The remaining (22%) immunonegative synapses are intermingled with those showing GABA immunoreactivity, but their putative transmitter is unknown. These morphological observations suggest that the presynaptic control of the chordotonal afferents is largely mediated by GABAergic neurons, but because other types of neuron also appear to be involved, presynaptic modulation may be more complex than has yet been revealed by the physiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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