Primary mechanosensory receptors and interneurons in the cricket cercal sensory system are sensitive to the direction and frequency of air current stimuli. Receptors innervating long mechanoreceptor hairs (>1000 microm) are most sensitive to low-frequency air currents (<150 Hz); receptors innervating medium-length hairs (900-500 microm) are most sensitive to higher frequency ranges (150-400 Hz). Previous studies demonstrated that the projection pattern of the synaptic arborizations of long hair receptor afferents form a continuous map of air current direction within the terminal abdominal ganglion (). We demonstrate here that the projection pattern of the medium-length hair afferents also forms a continuous map of stimulus direction. However, the afferents from the long and medium-length hair afferents show very little spatial segregation with respect to their frequency sensitivity. The possible functional significance of this small degree of spatial segregation was investigated, by calculating the relative overlap between the long and medium-length hair afferents with the dendrites of two interneurons that are known to have different frequency sensitivities. Both interneurons were shown to have nearly equal anatomical overlap with long and medium hair afferents. Thus, the differential overlap of these interneurons with the two different classes of afferents was not adequate to explain the observed frequency selectivity of the interneurons. Other mechanisms such as selective connectivity between subsets of afferents and interneurons and/or differences in interneuron biophysical properties must play a role in establishing the frequency selectivities of these interneurons. (+info)
(2/1662) Morphology of intraepithelial corpuscular nerve endings in the nasal respiratory mucosa of the dog.
Corpuscular nerve endings in the nasal respiratory mucosa of the dog were investigated by immunohistochemical staining specific for protein gene product 9.5 by light and electron microscopy. In the nasal respiratory mucosa, complex corpuscular endings, which displayed bulbous, laminar and varicose expansions, were distributed on the dorsal elevated part of the nasal septum and on the dorsal nasal concha. The endings were 300-500 microm long and 100-250 microm wide. Some axons gave rise to a single ending while others branched into 2 endings. Cryostat sections revealed that the corpuscular endings were located within the nasal respiratory epithelium. On electron microscopy, immunoreactive nerve terminals that contained organelles, including mitochondria and neurofilaments, were observed within the epithelial layer near the lumen of the nasal cavity. Some terminals contacted the goblet cell. Such terminal regions were covered by the cytoplasmic process of ciliated cells and were never exposed to the lumen of the nasal cavity. These nerve endings are probably activated by pressure changes. (+info)
(3/1662) Receptor mechanisms underlying heterogenic reflexes among the triceps surae muscles of the cat.
The soleus (S), medial gastrocnemius (MG), and lateral gastrocnemius (LG) muscles of the cat are interlinked by rapid spinal reflex pathways. In the decerebrate state, these heterogenic reflexes are either excitatory and length dependent or inhibitory and force dependent. Mechanographic analysis was used to obtain additional evidence that the muscle spindle primary ending and the Golgi tendon organ provide the major contributions to these reflexes, respectively. The tendons of the triceps surae muscles were separated and connected to independent force transducers and servo-controlled torque motors in unanesthetized, decerebrate cats. The muscles were activated as a group using crossed-extension reflexes. Electrical stimulation of the caudal cutaneous sural nerve was used to provide a particularly strong activation of MG and decouple the forces of the triceps surae muscles. During either form of activation, the muscles were stretched either individually or in various combinations to determine the strength and characteristics of autogenic and heterogenic feedback. The corresponding force responses, including both active and passive components, were measured during the changing background tension. During activation of the entire group, the excitatory, heterogenic feedback linking the three muscles was found to be strongest onto LG and weakest onto MG, in agreement with previous results concerning the strengths of heteronymous Ia excitatory postsynaptic potentials among the triceps surae muscles. The inhibition, which is known to affect only the soleus muscle, was dependent on active contractile force and was detected essentially as rapidly as length dependent excitation. The inhibition outlasted the excitation and was blocked by intravenous strychnine. These results indicate that the excitatory and inhibitory effects are dominated by feedback from primary spindle receptors and Golgi tendon organs. The interactions between these two feedback pathways potentially can influence both the mechanical coupling between ankle and knee. (+info)
(4/1662) Cannabinoid suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity in wide dynamic range neurons in the lumbar dorsal horn of the rat.
The effects of cannabinoid agonists on noxious heat-evoked firing of 62 spinal wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons were examined in urethan-anesthetized rats (1 cell/animal). Noxious thermal stimulation was applied with a Peltier device to the receptive fields in the ipsilateral hindpaw of isolated WDR neurons. To assess the site of action, cannabinoids were administered systemically in intact and spinally transected rats and intraventricularly. Both the aminoalkylindole cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 (125 microg/kg iv) and the bicyclic cannabinoid CP55,940 (125 microg/kg iv) suppressed noxious heat-evoked activity. Responses evoked by mild pressure in nonnociceptive neurons were not altered by CP55,940 (125 microg/kg iv), consistent with previous observations with another cannabinoid agonist, WIN55,212-2. The cannabinoid induced-suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity was blocked by pretreatment with SR141716A (1 mg/kg iv), a competitive antagonist for central cannabinoid CB1 receptors. By contrast, intravenous administration of either vehicle or the receptor-inactive enantiomer WIN55,212-3 (125 microg/kg) failed to alter noxious heat-evoked activity. The suppression of noxious heat-evoked activity induced by WIN55,212-2 in the lumbar dorsal horn of intact animals was markedly attenuated in spinal rats. Moreover, intraventricular administration of WIN55,212-2 suppressed noxious heat-evoked activity in spinal WDR neurons. By contrast, both vehicle and enantiomer were inactive. These findings suggest that cannabinoids selectively modulate the activity of nociceptive neurons in the spinal dorsal horn by actions at CB1 receptors. This modulation represents a suppression of pain neurotransmission because the inhibitory effects are selective for pain-sensitive neurons and are observed with different modalities of noxious stimulation. The data also provide converging lines of evidence for a role for descending antinociceptive mechanisms in cannabinoid modulation of spinal nociceptive processing. (+info)
(5/1662) Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. I. Receptive fields and discharge patterns.
Three adolescent Macaca fascicularis monkeys weighing between 3.5 and 4 kg were trained to use a precision grip to grasp a metal tab mounted on a low friction vertical track and to lift and hold it in a 12- to 25-mm position window for 1 s. The surface texture of the metal tab in contact with the fingers and the weight of the object could be varied. The activity of 386 single cells with cutaneous receptive fields contacting the metal tab were recorded in Brodmann's areas 3b, 1, 2, 5, and 7 of the somatosensory cortex. In this first of a series of papers, we describe three types of discharge pattern, the receptive-field properties, and the anatomic distribution of the neurons. The majority of the receptive fields were cutaneous and covered less than one digit, and a chi2 test did not reveal any significant differences in the Brodmann's areas representing the thumb and index finger. Two broad categories of discharge pattern cells were identified. The first category, dynamic cells, showed a brief increase in activity beginning near grip onset, which quickly subsided despite continued pressure applied to the receptive field. Some of the dynamic neurons responded to both skin indentation and release. The second category, static cells, had higher activity during the stationary holding phase of the task. These static neurons demonstrated varying degrees of sensitivity to rates of pressure change on the skin. The percentage of dynamic versus static cells was about equal for areas 3b, 2, 5, and 7. Only area 1 had a higher proportion of dynamic cells (76%). A third category was identified that contained cells with significant pregrip activity and included cortical cells with both dynamic or static discharge patterns. Cells in this category showed activity increases before movement in the absence of receptive-field stimulation, suggesting that, in addition to peripheral cutaneous input, these cells also receive strong excitation from movement-related regions of the brain. (+info)
(6/1662) Phase-dependent presynaptic modulation of mechanosensory signals in the locust flight system.
In the locust flight system, afferents of a wing hinge mechanoreceptor, the hindwing tegula, make monosynaptic excitatory connections with motoneurons of the elevator muscles. During flight motor activity, the excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) produced by these connections changed in amplitude with the phase of the wingbeat cycle. The largest changes occurred around the phase where elevator motoneurons passed through their minimum membrane potential. This phase-dependent modulation was neither due to flight-related oscillations in motoneuron membrane potential nor to changes in motoneuron input resistance. This indicates that modulation of EPSP amplitude is mediated by presynaptic mechanisms that affect the efficacy of afferent synaptic input. Primary afferent depolarizations (PADs) were recorded in the terminal arborizations of tegula afferents, presynaptic to elevator motoneurons in the same hemiganglion. PADs were attributed to presynaptic inhibitory input because they reduced the input resistance of the afferents and were sensitive to the gamma-aminobutyric acid antagonist picrotoxin. PADs occurred either spontaneously or were elicited by spike activity in the tegula afferents. In summary, afferent signaling in the locust flight system appears to be under presynaptic control, a candidate mechanism of which is presynaptic inhibition. (+info)
(7/1662) C-fiber depletion alters response properties of neurons in trigeminal nucleus principalis.
The effects of C-fiber depletion induced by neonatal capsaicin treatment on the functional properties of vibrissa-sensitive low-threshold mechanoreceptive (LTM) neurons in the rat trigeminal nucleus principalis were examined in adult rats. Neonatal rats were injected either with capsaicin or its vehicle within 48 h of birth. The depletion of unmyelinated afferents was confirmed by the significant decrease in plasma extravasation of Evan's blue dye induced in the hindlimb skin of capsaicin-treated rats by cutaneous application of mustard oil and by the significant decrease of unmyelinated fibers in both the sciatic and infraorbital nerves. The mechanoreceptive field (RF) and response properties of 31 vibrissa-sensitive neurons in capsaicin-treated rats were compared with those of 32 vibrissa-sensitive neurons in control (untreated or vehicle-treated) rats. The use of electronically controlled mechanical stimuli allowed quantitative analysis of response properties of vibrissa-sensitive neurons; these included the number of center- and surround-RF vibrissae within the RF (i.e., those vibrissae which when stimulated elicited >/=1 and <1 action potential per stimulus, respectively), the response magnitude and latency, and the selectivity of responses to stimulation of vibrissae in different directions with emphasis on combining both the response magnitude and direction of vibrissal deflection in a vector analysis. Neonatal capsaicin treatment was associated with significant increases in the total number of vibrissae, in the number of center-RF vibrissae per neuronal RF, and in the percentage of vibrissa-sensitive neurons that also responded to stimulation of other types of orofacial tissues. Compared with control rats, capsaicin-treated rats showed significant increases in the response magnitude to stimulation of surround-RF vibrissae as well as in response latency variability to stimulation of both center- and surround-RF vibrissae. C-fiber depletion also significantly altered the directional selectivity of responses to stimulation of vibrissae. For neurons with multiple center-RF vibrissae, the proportion of center-RF vibrissae with net vector responses oriented toward the same quadrant was significantly less in capsaicin-treated compared with control rats. These changes in the functional properties of principalis vibrissa-sensitive neurons associated with marked depletion of C-fiber afferents are consistent with similarly induced alterations in LTM neurons studied at other levels of the rodent somatosensory system, and indeed may contribute to alterations previously described in the somatosensory cortex of adult rodents. Furthermore, these results provide additional support to the view that C fibers may have an important role in shaping the functional properties of LTM neurons in central somatosensory pathways. (+info)
(8/1662) Distinct signaling pathways mediate touch and osmosensory responses in a polymodal sensory neuron.
The Caenorhabditis elegans ASH sensory neurons mediate responses to nose touch, hyperosmolarity, and volatile repellent chemicals. We show here that distinct signaling pathways mediate the responses to touch and hyperosmolarity. ASH neurons distinguish between these stimuli because habituation to nose touch has no effect on the response to high osmolarity or volatile chemicals (1-octanol). Mutations in osm-10 eliminate the response to hyperosmolarity but have no effect on responses to nose touch or to volatile repellents. OSM-10 is a novel cytosolic protein expressed in ASH and three other classes of sensory neurons. Mutations in two other osmosensory-defective genes, eos-1 and eos-2, interact genetically with osm-10. Our analysis suggests that nose touch sensitivity and osmosensation occur via distinct signaling pathways in ASH and that OSM-10 is required for osmosensory signaling. (+info)