Sensory processing and corollary discharge effects in mormyromast regions of mormyrid electrosensory lobe. II. Cell types and corollary discharge plasticity

J Neurophysiol. 1992 Sep;68(3):859-75. doi: 10.1152/jn.1992.68.3.859.


1. This is the second of a series of papers on the electrosensory lobe and closely associated structures in electric fish of the family Mormyridae. The focus of the study is on the regions of the electrosensory lobe where primary afferent fibers from mormyromast electroreceptors terminate. 2. This second paper examines the responses of single cells in the mormyromast regions of the electrosensory lobe to electrosensory stimuli and to corollary discharge signals associated with the motor command that drives the electric organ to discharge. All recordings were extracellular. 3. Two major types of cells were identified: I cells, which were inhibited by electrosensory stimuli in the center of their receptive fields; and E cells, which were excited by such stimuli. 4. I cells and E cells shared a number of common features. Both types could have small receptive fields limited to only a few electroreceptors (3-5), and both types were markedly affected by the corollary discharge of the electric organ discharge (EOD) motor command. Cells of both types also showed clear plasticity in their responses to the corollary discharge or to the corollary discharge plus a stimulus. 5. I cells could be subdivided into three subtypes, I1, I2, and I3, on the basis of corollary discharge responses in the absence of sensory stimuli. I1 and I2 cells showed consistent corollary discharge bursts with little or no additional activity beyond the duration of the burst. The corollary discharge bursts of I1 cells were more stereotyped and of shorter latency than those of I2 cells. I3 cells had more spontaneous activity than I1 or I2 cells and minimal cells had more spontaneous activity than I1 or I2 cells and minimal corollary discharge responses in the absence of sensory stimuli. Field potentials indicated that all three subtypes of I cells were recorded in or near the ganglion layer of the electrosensory lobe. 6. Corollary discharge responses were plastic and depended on recent pairing of a sensory stimulus with the EOD motor command. Such plasticity was clearer in I2 and I3 cells than in I1 cells. Inhibitory sensory stimuli were paired with the EOD motor command for periods of a few seconds to several minutes. Such pairing resulted in a marked enhancement of the corollary discharge response in I2 cells, as shown by examining the effect of the motor command after turning off the stimulus. In I3 cells, such pairing resulted in a clear corollary burst to the command at the time of the previously paired inhibition.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Fish / physiology*
  • Electric Organ / cytology
  • Electric Organ / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Sensation / physiology*