Aminergic modulation in lobster stomatogastric ganglion. II. Target neurons of dopamine, octopamine, and serotonin within the pyloric circuit

J Neurophysiol. 1986 May;55(5):866-81. doi: 10.1152/jn.1986.55.5.866.


In the preceding paper, we describe how dopamine, octopamine, and serotonin modulate the neural circuit generating a well-described motor pattern, the pyloric rhythm of the stomatogastric ganglion in the spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus. In this paper, we identify the neurons within the pyloric circuit that are directly affected by each amine. We accomplished this by isolating each pyloric neuron from all known synaptic input, using a combination of Lucifer yellow photoinactivation of presynaptic neurons and pharmacological blockade by pyloric neurotransmitters. Dopamine, octopamine, and serotonin were bath applied to the preparation, and the responses of synaptically isolated neurons were recorded. Each amine had a unique constellation of effects on the neurons of the pyloric circuit. Almost every neuron in the circuit was directly affected by each amine. Dopamine and octopamine modulated every neuron, whereas serotonin affected four of the six cell types. Each amine had multiple effects among pyloric neurons including the induction of endogenous rhythmic bursting activity, initiation or enhancement of tonic firing activity, and inhibition accompanied by hyperpolarization. All three amines induced rhythmic bursting in one neuron (the AB neuron), but the form of the underlying slow-wave membrane-potential oscillations was different with octopamine than with dopamine and serotonin. Our knowledge of the effects of each amine on each pyloric neuron, combined with the extensive knowledge of the synaptic organization of the pyloric circuit, has allowed us to explain qualitatively the major aspects of the unique variants of the pyloric motor rhythm that each amine produces in the synaptically intact circuit.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Amines / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / pharmacology
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nephropidae
  • Octopamine / pharmacology
  • Pylorus / innervation
  • Serotonin / pharmacology
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Octopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine