A disynaptic sensorimotor pathway in the lobster stomatogastric system

J Neurophysiol. 1988 Mar;59(3):740-56. doi: 10.1152/jn.1988.59.3.740.


1. In the lobster Homarus, muscle gm 1 that causes protraction of the medial tooth of the gastric mill system is innervated via a dorsal branch of the anterior gastric nerve by motoneurons (GM) arising in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) (Fig. 1). 2. A ventral branch of the anterior gastric nerve (VAGN) contains a single unit that is mechanosensitive, responds to gentle pressure on the stomach wall in the vicinity of gm 1, and evokes reflex activation of GM motoneurons (Fig. 2). 3. This mechanoreceptor neuron (called anterior gastric receptor, AGR) has been identified morphologically (Fig. 3) and electrophysiologically (Figs. 4 and 5). The bipolar cell body is located in the dorsal ventricular nerve immediately posterior to the STG. It sends out long peripheral processes in the left and right VAGNs to ramify bilaterally in the epidermis of the stomach wall underlying muscle gm 1. The axon of the AGR runs anteriorly through the STG and projects to the left and right commissural ganglia (CoGs) via the stomatogastric (STN) and inferior esophageal nerves. 4. AGR activation of GM motoneurons disappears after cutting the STN, indicating that the reflex is mediated by an axonal pathway involving rostral ganglia (Fig. 6). 5. Electrophysiological (Fig. 7) and morphological (Fig. 8) methods were used to identify an interneuron (commissural gastric neuron, CG) located in each CoG and intercalated between AGR and GM. Axons of the two CGs project to the STG via the superior esophageal nerves and the STN. 6. Simultaneous intracellular recordings from the three cell types demonstrate that AGR excites CG, which in turn excites GM; in each case excitatory postsynaptic potentials follow presynaptic impulses one for one and at constant latency (Fig. 9). Raising the threshold for spiking with saline containing high divalent cation concentrations further indicates that both excitatory connections are monosynaptic and confirms that AGR does not directly excite GM motoneurons (Fig. 10). 7. The input/output properties of AGR in this disynaptic excitatory pathway (Fig. 11) are discussed as also are the functional implications of such a long-loop pathway for sensorimotor integration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways
  • Animals
  • Dentition
  • Electrophysiology
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nephropidae / physiology*
  • Sensation*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Stomach / innervation*
  • Stomach / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*