Effect of auditory deafferentation on the synaptic connectivity of a pair of identified interneurons in adult field crickets

J Neurobiol. 1988 Jan;19(1):17-38. doi: 10.1002/neu.480190104.


In adult crickets, Teleogryllus oceanicus, unilateral auditory deafferentation causes the medial dendrites of an afferent-deprived, identified auditory interneuron (Int-1) in the prothoracic ganglion to sprout and form new functional connections in the contralateral auditory neuropil. The establishment of these new functional connections by the deafferented Int-1, however, does not appear to affect the physiological responses of Int-1's homolog on the intact side of the prothoracic ganglion which also innervates this auditory neuropil. Thus it appears that the sprouting dendrites of the deafferented Int-1 are not functionally competing with those of the intact Int-1 for synaptic connections in the remaining auditory neuropil following unilateral deafferentation in adult crickets. Moreover, we demonstrate that auditory function is restored to the afferent-deprived Int-1 within 4-6 days following deafferentation, when few branches of Int-1's medial dendrites can be seen to have sprouted. The strength of the physiological responses and extent of dendritic sprouting in the deafferented Int-1 progressively increase with time following deafferentation. By 28 days following deafferentation, most of the normal physiological responses of Int-1 to auditory stimuli have been restored in the deafferented Int-1, and the medial dendrites of the deafferented Int-1 have clearly sprouted and grown across into the contralateral auditory afferent field. The strength of the physiological responses of the deafferented Int-1 to auditory stimuli and extent of dendritic sprouting in the deafferented Int-1 are greater in crickets deafferented as juveniles than as adults. Thus, neuronal plasticity persists in Int-1 following sensory deprivation from the earliest juvenile stages through adulthood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gryllidae / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Isoquinolines
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Orthoptera / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Isoquinolines
  • lucifer yellow