Control of feeding motor output by paracerebral neurons in brain of Pleurobranchaea californica

J Neurophysiol. 1982 May;47(5):885-908. doi: 10.1152/jn.1982.47.5.885.


1. A population of interneurons that control feeding behavior in the mollusk Pleurobranchaea has been analyzed by dye injection and intracellular stimulation/recording in whole animals and reduced preparations. The population consists of 12-16 somata distributed in two bilaterally symmetrical groups on the anterior edge of the cerebropleural ganglion (brain). On the basis of their position adjacent to the cerebral lobes, these cells have been named paracerebral neurons (PCNs). This study concerns pme subset pf [MCs. the large, phasic ones, which have the strongest effect on the feeding rhythm (21). 2. Each PCN sends a descending axon via the ipsilateral cerebrobuccal connective to the buccal ganglion. Axon branches have not been detected in other brain or buccal nerves and hence the PCNs appear to be interneurons. 3. In whole-animal preparations, tonic intracellular depolarization of the PNCs causes them to discharge cyclic bursts of action potentials interrupted by a characteristic hyperpolarization. In all specimens that exhibit feeding behavior, the interburst hyperpolarization is invariably accompanied by radula closure and the beginning of proboscis retraction (the "bite"). No other behavorial effect of PCN stimulation has been observed. 4. In whole-animal preparations, the PCNs are excited by food and tactile stimulation of the oral veil, rhinophores, and tentacles. When such stimuli induce feeding the PCNs discharge in the same bursting pattern seen during tonic PCN depolarization, with the cyclic interburst hyperpolarization phase locked to the bit. When specimens egest an unpalatable object by cyclic buccal movements, however, the PCNs are silent. The PCNs therefore exhibit properties expected of behaviorally specific "command" neurons for feeding. 5. Silencing one or two PCNs by hyperpolarization may weaken but does not prevent feeding induced by natural food stimuli. Single PCNs therefore can be sufficient but are not necessary to induction of feeding behavior. Instead the PCNs presumably operate as a population to control feeding. 6. In isolated nervous system preparations tonic extracellular stimulation of the stomatogastric nerve of the buccal ganglion elicits a cyclic motor rhythm that is similar in general features to the PNC-induced motor rhythm. Bursts of PCN action potentials intercalated at the normal phase position in this cycle intensify the buccal rhythm. Bursts of PCN impulses intercalated at abnormal phase positions reset the buccal rhythm. The PCNs, therefore, also exhibit properties expected of pattern-generator elements and/or coordinating neurons for the buccal rhythm. 7. The PCNs are recruited into activity when the buccal motor rhythm is elicited by stomatogastric nerve stimulation or stimulation of the reidentifiable ventral white cell. The functional synergy between the PCNs and the buccal rhythm is therefore reciprocal. 8...

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Mollusca
  • Physical Stimulation