Anatomy and physiology of spiking local and intersegmental interneurons in the median neuroblast lineage of the grasshopper

J Comp Neurol. 1991 Mar 22;305(4):659-75. doi: 10.1002/cne.903050409.


The range of anatomical and physiological properties in the adult progeny of an identified neuroblast was investigated. Some 80-90 adult neurons constitute the dorsal unpaired median (DUM) group of the grasshopper metathoracic ganglion. Within the group are efferent, octopaminergic neurons with large cell bodies and overshooting action potentials. Our objective was to determine the properties of the neurons with small cell bodies that make up the majority of the clone, some 60-70 neurons, about which scant information was available. The small DUM neurons have cell body diameters of 10-20 microns and stain with antibodies to GABA (Thompson and Siegler, '89: Proc. Soc. Neurosci. 15:1296 (abstr.); Witten and Truman, '89: Proc. Soc. Neurosci. 15:365 (abstr.)). By employing intracellular electrophysiological and morphological techniques, we have established that the small DUM neurons are spiking interneurons, expressing passively conducted action potentials in the cell body. They fall into two basic classes: local interneurons with bilateral branches in the auditory neuropiles, and intersegmental interneurons with bilateral branches widespread in the methathoracic ganglion and axons traveling in both anterior connectives. The local interneurons typically respond to sound, whereas the intersegmental interneurons selectively respond to wind on the head or to generalized movements by the animal. Primary neurites of small and large DUM neurons enter the neuropil in a bundle, but the neurites of DUM interneurons are more posterior and have a separate trajectory from those of the efferent DUM neurons once in the ganglion core. A model is presented for the sequential development of efferent, local, and intersegmental DUM neurons from the median neuroblast.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Ganglia / cytology
  • Grasshoppers / anatomy & histology*
  • Grasshoppers / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons, Efferent / ultrastructure
  • Stem Cells / physiology*