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Neuroreport. 1998 Feb 16;9(3):517-20.

Excitability increase in withdrawal interneurons after conditioning in snail.

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Group of Biophysics of Kazan Physical Technical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Sibirskii tract, Russia.


Membrane mechanisms of conditioning of the defensive reflex in the snails Helix pomatia and H. lucorum were investigated. Tapping on the shell was used as a conditioned stimulus, which under normal conditions produces no defensive reaction. A light blow of air into the pneumostome, called the defensive closure reaction, was used as an unconditioned stimulus. When a combination of conditioned and unconditioned stimuli were presented with 2-4 min interval, the reflex developed over a period of 3 days. The separate conditioned and unconditioned stimuli presented randomly were used as an active control. The electrical characteristics of identified interneurons involved in this defensive behavior were then measured in an isolated preparation. There was shown to be a decrease in the threshold of action potential generation from 20.5 to 16.3 mV and depolarizing shift of membrane potential from -62.1 to -57.0 mV. The electrical characteristics of withdrawal interneurons of active control snails did not differ from those in intact animals. All results show an increase in excitability of withdrawal interneurons after associative learning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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