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Eur J Neurosci. 1996 Sep;8(9):1865-72.

Effect of feedback from peripheral movements on neuron activity in the aplysia abdominal ganglion.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


We have made reasonably comprehensive measurements of action potential activity in the Aplysia californica abdominal ganglion to determine the amount of feedback the central nervous system (CNS) receives from a movement which it initiates. Voltage-sensitive dye measurements of action potential activity of cells in the ganglion were made during the gill-withdrawal reflex elicited by siphon stimulation. We compared recordings in two situations which differed dramatically in the amount the gill moved. In the control sea water, the gill withdrawal was normal; in low-Ca2+, high-Mg2+ sea water, the gill movement was blocked. Both the timing and the number of spikes of the individual neurons were similar in the two situations. Histograms of the summed spike activity versus time and histograms of the number of active neurons versus time in the two conditions were also similar. Finally, two numerical measures of trial-to-trial differences, a paired t-test and a measure we named fractional similarity, did not indicate larger differences between two trials in the different sea waters than two trials in the same sea water. Feedback from sensory neurons activated by the gill movement itself does not make a large contribution to the spike activity in the abdominal ganglion. Apparently the Aplysia CNS issues the command for the withdrawal and does not make adjustments for the magnitude of the actual withdrawal. It may not even receive the information necessary for such adjustments to be made. A second motivation for these experiments was to test whether removing the feedback might simplify the neuronal activity that occurs during the gill-withdrawal reflex. This did not occur.

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