Termination of leech swimming activity by a previously identified swim trigger neuron

J Comp Physiol A. 1995 Nov;177(5):627-36. doi: 10.1007/BF00207191.


Cell Tr2 is a neuron in the subesophageal ganglion of the leech that can trigger swim episodes. In this report, we describe the ability of Tr2 to terminate ongoing swim episodes as well as to trigger swimming. Stimulation of Tr2 terminated ongoing swim episodes in nearly every preparation tested, while Tr2 stimulation triggered swim episodes in only a minority of the preparations. We suggest that the primary role of Tr2 is in the termination rather than the initiation of swimming activity. The swim trigger neuron Tr3 and a swim-gating neuron, cell 21, hyperpolarized during Tr2-induced swim termination. Another swim-gating neuron, cell 204 was sometimes slightly excited, but more often, hyperpolarized during Tr2-induced swim termination. In contrast to these cells, Tr2 stimulation excited another swim-gating neuron, cell 61. The responses of the swim-gating cells were variable in amplitude and sometimes not evident during Tr2-induced swim termination. Hence, the effects of Tr2 stimulation on swim-gating neurons seem unlikely to be the direct cause of swim termination. Oscillator cells examined during Tr2-induced swim termination include: 27, 28, 33, 60, 115, and 208. The largest effect seen in an oscillator neuron was in cell 208, which was repolarized by up to 10 mV during Tr2 stimulation. Tr2 stimulation did not produce any obvious synaptic effects in motor neurons DI-1, VI-1, and DE-3. Our findings indicate that other, yet undiscovered, connections are likely to be important in Tr2-induced swim termination. Therefore, we propose that cell Tr2 is probably a member of a distributed neural network involved in swim termination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Electrophysiology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / cytology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Leeches / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*