A population of ascending intersegmental interneurones in the locust with mechanosensory inputs from a hind leg

J Comp Neurol. 1988 Sep 1;275(1):1-12. doi: 10.1002/cne.902750102.


A population of some 35 intersegmental interneurones with somata in the metathoracic ganglion has been characterized by intracellular recording and staining. These interneurones integrate signals from extero- and proprioceptors on a hind leg. The somata are clustered in an anterior and lateral region of the dorsal cortex, and the axons project to more anterior ganglia in either the ipsilateral or contralateral connectives. Some of these interneurones are excited by afferents from a proprioceptor at the femorotibial joint, the femoral chordotonal organ. An afferent spike evokes a chemically mediated EPSP in an interneurone with a latency and consistency that suggest that the connection is direct. An individual interneurone codes particular features of the movement about the femorotibial joint, responding to flexion, extension, or both directions of movement with either phasic or tonic responses. These interneurones have an extensive field of fine branches ipsilateral to the hind leg from which they receive input. These branches are in lateral and intermediate regions of neuropil to which the afferents of the chordotonal organ also project. Axonal branches, from either an ipsilateral and contralateral axon, are sparse and varicose and occur in dorsal neuropil. Other interneurones are excited by afferents from exteroceptive hairs (trichoid sensilla). An individual interneurone is excited by a particular array of hairs on specific regions of a hind leg. The connections between the afferents and the interneurones appear direct. These interneurones have a dense and compact array of fine branches ipsilateral to the hind leg from which they receive input. These branches are in the most ventral region of neuropil, to which the hair afferents also project. Branches from the ipsilateral axons are sparse and varicose and occur in more dorsal neuropil. The interneurones can thus provide the more anterior ganglia with precise information about the movement of a joint in a hind leg and of the location of an exteroceptive stimulus. This information would be of importance in ensuring the correct co-ordination of the legs during walking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Grasshoppers / cytology
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Hindlimb / innervation
  • Hindlimb / physiology
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / cytology
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Movement*