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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Sep 21;399(2):241-54.

Inhibitory connections between antagonistic motor neurones of the crayfish walking legs.

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Laboratoire Neurobiologie et Mouvements, CNRS, Marseille, France.


The inhibitory relationship between two antagonistic groups of motor neurones (MNs) that control the second leg joint of the crayfish Procambarus clarkii, was investigated in an in vitro preparation of the ventral nerve cord. Paired intracellular recordings were used to test the hypothesis that reciprocal inhibitory connections between levator (Lev) and depressor (Dep) MNs are direct. The injection of depolarising current into a Lev MN induces a hyperpolarising response in the Dep MN. This inhibitory relationship does not require spikes in the presynaptic MN, because it persists when spikes are suppressed by the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX). This reciprocal inhibition is graded, and both the amplitude and the time constant of the hyperpolarising response increase with increasing amount of depolarising current injected into an antagonistic MN. Although this inhibition is slow (synaptic delay around 10 ms), it is probably supported by a direct glutamatergic synapse from the antagonistic glutamatergic MN because it persists in the presence of the gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) synthesis inhibitor 3-mercapto-propionic acid (3-MPA). This hypothesis is reinforced by the demonstration of close appositions between antagonistic MNs by using a confocal microscope, and by the presence of glutamate-immunoreactive synapses on the neurites of MNs labelled for electron microscopy by intracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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