Pyramidal-cell plasticity in weakly electric fish: a mechanism for attenuating responses to reafferent electrosensory inputs

J Comp Physiol A. 1995 Jan;176(1):63-73. doi: 10.1007/BF00197753.


Recordings within the posterior eminentia granularis of the weakly electric fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus, revealed multiple types of proprioceptive units responsive to changes in the position of the animal's trunk and tail. Intracellular labelling showed that the proprioceptor recordings were made from axons that ramify extensively within the EGp. The location of the somata giving rise to these axons is presently unknown. Electroreceptor afferent responses to electric organ discharge amplitude modulations caused by movement of the animal's tail were compared to responses caused by electronically generated AMs of similar amplitude and time course. These did not differ. Electrosensory lateral line lobe pyramidal cells responded significantly less to electric organ discharge amplitude modulations caused by changing the animal's posture as compared to electronically produced AMs, suggesting that central mechanisms attenuate pyramidal cell responses to reafferent electrosensory inputs. Experiments in which the pattern of reafferent input associated with changes in posture was altered revealed that the pyramidal cells learn, over a time course of several minutes, to reject new patterns of input. Both proprioceptive input and descending electrosensory input to the posterior eminentia granularis are involved in generating the observed plastic changes in pyramidal cell responsiveness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Electric Fish / physiology*
  • Electric Organ / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Tail / physiology