Impulse activity of a crayfish motoneuron regulated its neuromuscular synaptic properties

J Neurophysiol. 1989 Jan;61(1):91-6. doi: 10.1152/jn.1989.61.1.91.


1. Previous studies have demonstrated that initial transmitter release, fatigability, and the morphology of identified crayfish neuromuscular synapses adapt to long-term changes in motoneuron impulse activity. 2. Experiments were performed to determine whether these long-term, adaptive alterations in neuromuscular synaptic physiology are triggered by changes in neuromuscular synaptic activity, muscle activity, or neuronal impulse activity. The fast closer excitor of the crayfish claw, a phasic motoneuron, was studied. Either the central or the peripheral region of the motoneuron was selectively stimulated in vivo by blocking impulse activity midway along the motor axon with localized application of tetrodotoxin and stimulating either central or distal to the blocked region. 3. Neither muscle activity nor transmitter release from the neuromuscular synapses was required to trigger the changes in synaptic physiology. Stimulation central to the block induced changes in neuromuscular transmission that included a long-lasting decrease in initial transmitter release and increased fatique resistance. 4. Because peripheral stimulation also produced decreased initial transmitter release, it appears that increased impulse activity in either region of the motoneuron can produce the synaptic changes. These results along with earlier findings suggest that neuronal depolarization induces adaptive, long-term changes in synapses. 5. These results are discussed in relation to findings at vertebrate and invertebrate synapses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Astacoidea
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*