Pharmacological dissection of pyloric network of the lobster stomatogastric ganglion using picrotoxin

J Neurophysiol. 1980 Dec;44(6):1089-1101. doi: 10.1152/jn.1980.44.6.1089.


1. Picrotoxin (PTX) (10(-7)-10(-6) M) completely blocked most inhibitory synapses in the pyloric pattern generator of the lobster (Panulirus interruptus) stomatogastric ganglion. The sensitivity of synapses from most classes of identified neurons was examined. Blockade was at least partly reversible with prolonged washing. 2. The synapses from pyloric dilator (PD) neurons were the only inhibitory synapses that picrotoxin failed to block completely. 3. A correlation is derived that brief, fast-rise inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) are picrotoxin sensitive, whereas a slow rounded component of IPSPs from PD neurons is not picrotoxin sensitive. 4. Picrotoxin caused specific changes in the pattern of the motor rhythm produced by the 16-cell pyloric network. This sheds some light on the functional role of particular synapses in the pyloric generator. 5. The endogenously bursting neurons (PD and anterior burster (AB)), which drive the pyloric rhythm, kept a similar burst rate. 6. Under picrotoxin, the pyloric "follower" neurons all moved to later phase relative to the "driver" group. Some normally antagonistic cells, related by reciprocal inhibitor connections, became in-phase. These and other pattern changes could be related to blockade of particular synapses. 7. The pyloric rhythm was still quite recognizable under picrotoxin despite the drastically altered circuitry of the synaptic network. This supports the idea that periodic inhibition from the PD driver neurons plays a primary role in creating the pyloric pattern.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology
  • Animals
  • Ganglia / anatomy & histology
  • Ganglia / drug effects*
  • Ganglia / physiology
  • Glutamates / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nephropidae / physiology*
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Glutamates
  • Picrotoxin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Acetylcholine