Interactions of the slow oscillator interneuron with feeding pattern-generating interneurons in Lymnaea stagnalis

J Neurophysiol. 1985 Dec;54(6):1412-21. doi: 10.1152/jn.1985.54.6.1412.


We have used intracellular recording from groups of interneurons in the feeding system of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, to examine the connections of a modulatory interneuron, the slow oscillator (SO), with the network of pattern-generating interneurons (N1, N2, and N3). The SO is an interneuron whose axon branches solely within the buccal ganglia. There is only one such cell in each snail. In half the snails the cell body is in the right buccal ganglion and in the other half in the left buccal ganglion. Stimulation of either the SO or one of the N1 pattern-generating interneurons elicits the feeding rhythm, but of all the buccal neurons, only the SO can drive the feeding rhythm at the frequency seen in the intact snail. The SO makes reciprocal excitatory synapses with the N1 interneurons that drive the protraction of the radula. This ensures strong activation of the feeding system. The SO inhibits the N2 interneurons. Postsynaptic potentials evoked by stimulation of the SO facilitate without spike broadening in the SO. The SO is strongly inhibited by N2 and N3 interneurons, which are active during the retraction phase. This gates any excitatory inputs to the SO, probably preventing protraction of the radula while retraction is underway. The results support the idea of a single interneuron capable of driving a hierarchically organized motor system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cheek / innervation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Ganglia / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Snails
  • Synapses / physiology