Efferent controls in crustacean mechanoreceptors

Microsc Res Tech. 2002 Aug 15;58(4):312-24. doi: 10.1002/jemt.10139.


Since the 1960s it has been known that central neural networks can elaborate motor patterns in the absence of any sensory feedback. However, sensory and neuromodulatory inputs allow the animal to adapt the motor command to the actual mechanical configuration or changing needs. Many studies in invertebrates, particularly in crustacea, have described several mechanisms of sensory-motor integration and have shown that part of this integration was supported by the efferent control of the mechanosensory neurons themselves. In this article, we review the findings that support such an efferent control of mechanosensory neurons in crustacea. Various types of crustacean proprioceptors feeding information about joint movements and strains to central neural networks are considered, together with evidence of efferent controls exerted on their sensory neurons. These efferent controls comprise (1) the neurohormonal modulation of the coding properties of sensory neurons by bioamines and peptides; (2) the presynaptic inhibition of sensory neurons by GABA, glutamate and histamine; and (3) the long-term potentiation of sensory-motor synapses by glutamate. Several of these mechanisms can coexist on the same sensory neuron, and the functional significance of such multiple modulations is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astacoidea / physiology
  • Crustacea / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurons, Efferent / physiology*
  • Proprioception
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*