Removal of endogenous neuromodulators in a small motor network enhances responsiveness to neuromodulation

J Neurophysiol. 2017 Sep 1;118(3):1749-1761. doi: 10.1152/jn.00383.2017. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


We studied the changes in sensitivity to a peptide modulator, crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), as a response to loss of endogenous modulation in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab Cancer borealis Our data demonstrate that removal of endogenous modulation for 24 h increases the response of the lateral pyloric (LP) neuron of the STG to exogenously applied CCAP. Increased responsiveness is accompanied by increases in CCAP receptor (CCAPr) mRNA levels in LP neurons, requires de novo protein synthesis, and can be prevented by coincubation for the 24-h period with exogenous CCAP. These results suggest that there is a direct feedback from loss of CCAP signaling to the production of CCAPr that increases subsequent response to the ligand. However, we also demonstrate that the modulator-evoked membrane current (IMI) activated by CCAP is greater in magnitude after combined loss of endogenous modulation and activity compared with removal of just hormonal modulation. These results suggest that both receptor expression and an increase in the target conductance of the CCAP G protein-coupled receptor are involved in the increased response to exogenous hormone exposure following experimental loss of modulation in the STG.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The nervous system shows a tremendous amount of plasticity. More recently there has been an appreciation for compensatory actions that stabilize output in the face of perturbations to normal activity. In this study we demonstrate that neurons of the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion generate apparent compensatory responses to loss of peptide neuromodulation, adding to the repertoire of mechanisms by which the stomatogastric nervous system can regulate and stabilize its own output.

Keywords: homeostatic plasticity; neuromodulation; neuropeptide; stomatogastric nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Brachyura
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Invertebrate Peptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Invertebrate Peptide / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Neuropeptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Invertebrate Peptide
  • crustacean cardioactive peptide