Serotonergic modulation of swimming speed in the pteropod mollusc Clione limacina. III. Cerebral neurons

J Exp Biol. 1995 Apr;198(Pt 4):917-30.


Swim acceleration in Clione limacina can occur via central inputs to pattern generator interneurons and motor neurons and through peripheral inputs to the swim musculature. In the previous paper, peripheral modulation of the swim muscles was shown to increase wing contractility. In the present paper, central inputs are described that trigger an increase in swim frequency and an increase in motor neuron activity. In dissected preparations, spontaneous acceleration from slow to fast swimming included an increase in the cycle frequency, a baseline depolarization in the swim interneurons and an increase in the intensity of motoneuron firing. Similar effects could be elicited by bath application of 10(-5) mol l-1 serotonin. Two clusters of cerebral serotonin-immunoreactive interneurons were found to produce acceleration of swimming accompanied by changes in neuronal activity. Posterior cluster neurons triggered an increase in swim frequency, depolarization of the swim interneurons, an increase in general excitor motoneuron activity and activation of type 12 interneurons and pedal peripheral modulatory neurons. Cells from the anterior cerebral cluster also increased swim frequency, increased activity in the swim motoneurons and activated type 12 interneurons, pedal peripheral modulatory neurons and the heart excitor neuron. The time course of action of the anterior cluster neurons did not greatly outlast the duration of spike activity, while that of the posterior cluster neurons typically outlasted burst duration. It appears that the two discrete clusters of serotonin-immunoreactive neurons have similar, but not identical, effects on swim neurons, raising the possibility that the two serotonergic cell groups modulate the same target cells through different cellular mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Interneurons / drug effects
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Mollusca / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Serotonin / pharmacology*


  • Serotonin