Dopaminergic neuron B20 generates rhythmic neuronal activity in the feeding motor circuitry of Aplysia

Brain Res. 1993 Dec 10;630(1-2):226-37. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)90661-6.


We have identified a buccal neuron (B20) that exhibits dopamine-like histofluorescence and that can drive a rhythmic motor program of the feeding motor circuitry of Aplysia. The cell fires vigorously during episodes of patterned buccal activity that occur spontaneously, or during buccal programs elicited by stimulation of identified cerebral command-like neurons for feeding motor programs. Preventing B20 from firing, or firing B20 at inappropriate times, can modify the program driven by the cerebral feeding command-like neuron CBI-2. When B20 is activated by means of constant depolarizing current it discharges in phasic bursts, and evokes a sustained coordinated rhythmic buccal motor program. The program incorporates numerous buccal and cerebral neurons associated with aspects of feeding responses. The B20-driven program can be reversibly blocked by the dopamine-antagonist ergonovine, suggesting that dopamine may be causally involved in the generation of the program. Although firing of B20 evokes phasic activity in cerebral command-like neurons, the presence of the cerebral ganglion is not necessary for B20 to drive the program. The data are consistent with the notion that dopaminergic neuron B20 is an element within the central pattern generator for motor programs associated with feeding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia
  • Cheek / innervation
  • Dopamine / analysis
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Ergonovine / pharmacology
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / drug effects
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Dopamine
  • Ergonovine