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Experientia. 1988 May 15;44(5):369-76.

Optical monitoring of activity of many neurons in invertebrate ganglia during behaviors.

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Department of Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


Optical methods for monitoring neuron activity were developed because these methods lend themselves to simultaneous multiple-site measurements. With the use of new voltage-sensitive dyes, the dye-related pharmacology and photodynamic damage appear to be relatively unimportant. Using multiple-site measurements made with a 124-element photodiode array, we estimated that approximately 30 of the 200 neurons present in the Navanax buccal ganglion make action potentials during feeding and that approximately 300 of the 1100 neurons present in the Aplysia abdominal ganglion are active during the gill-withdrawal reflex. The fact that a light mechanical touch to the siphon skin activated such a large number of neurons in the abdominal ganglion suggests that understanding the neuronal basis of the gill-withdrawal reflex and its behavioral plasticity may be forbiddingly difficult.

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