Octopamine effects mimick state-dependent changes in a proprioceptive feedback system

J Neurobiol. 1993 May;24(5):598-610. doi: 10.1002/neu.480240506.


The modulatory actions of the biogenic amine octopamine on the femur tibia (FT) control loop in the stick insect Carausius morosus were examined. The response properties of the FT control loop were determined under open loop conditions. Mechanical stimulation of the femoral chordotonal organ (fCO) was the input and tibial movement and motoneuronal activity were measured as the output of the system. Following octopamine injection into the hemolymph of intact, inactive animals, two consecutive phases occurred at the behavioral level. Octopamine caused initially an activation of the animal. During this first phase (3.5-12 min duration) the response properties of the FT control loop were similar to those found in animals that were activated by tactile stimuli under normal conditions. Afterward, animals became inactive. During this second phase (15-20 min duration), the gain of the control loop was zero and no resistance reflex in the FT joint was generated in response to fCO stimulation. However, active movements of the tibia could still be elicited. As we could show in restrained animals, where DL-octopamine was applied topically onto the undesheated mesothoracic ganglion, the complete suppression of the resistance reflex on the motoneuronal level was dose dependent starting at concentrations of 5 x 10(-3) M octopamine. We could show that octopamine specifically suppressed the pathways involved in the resistance reflex, while feedback loop responses to fCO stimuli typical for active animals could still be elicited. Our results indicate that an increase in the octopamine concentration mimicks activation of the animal: Properties being characteristic for the control of the FT joint in the inactive animal are inhibited by octopamine, while properties of the FT control loop typical for the active animal appear to be facilitated following octopamine injection. The results clearly demonstrate that different pathways in the neuronal network underlying the FT control loop are involved in the responses of the control loop to fCO stimuli in the inactive and active behavioral states of the stick insect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extremities / innervation
  • Extremities / physiology
  • Feedback / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Ganglia / drug effects
  • Ganglia / physiology
  • Hemolymph / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Movement / drug effects
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Octopamine / pharmacology*
  • Proprioception / drug effects*
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Reflex / physiology


  • Octopamine