Correlation between the receptive fields of locust interneurons, their dendritic morphology, and the central projections of mechanosensory neurons

J Comp Neurol. 1993 Mar 15;329(3):412-26. doi: 10.1002/cne.903290311.


The relationships between the morphology and receptive fields of local and intersegmental interneurons that process mechanosensory information from a hindleg of the locust have been analysed. Sensory neurons from tactile hairs project to ventral areas of neuropil in the metathoracic ganglion where they form a 3-dimensional somatotopic map of a hindleg. By contrast, sensory neurons from a proprioceptor at the femoro-tibial joint (the femoral chordotonal organ) project to lateral and more intermediate areas of neuropil and have no branches in the most ventral regions of neuropil. Particular local and intersegmental interneurons respond to stimulation of specific arrays of hairs on a hindleg, or to movements of particular joints. Their receptive fields are defined, in part, by the patterns of excitatory, monosynaptic connections made by these afferents. Each interneuron has a characteristic receptive field and a characteristic morphology defined by its array of branches in the regions of neuropil containing the projections of the afferents that provide its monosynaptic inputs. Interneurons with inputs exclusively from tactile hairs have branches in the most ventral regions of neuropil, while those with exclusively proprioceptive inputs have branches only in more intermediate levels of neuropil. Interneurons with extensive receptive fields from tactile hairs also have extensive areas of branching within the ventral neuropil. Interneurons with receptive fields restricted to particular regions of the leg have branches restricted to the ventral region of neuropil containing the projections of afferents from that part of the leg. Thus, interneurons with inputs only from hairs on the tarsus have branches in the posterior region of neuropil corresponding to the projections of the tarsal afferents, while interneurons with receptive fields on the femur have branches in more anterior regions of neuropil corresponding to the projections of the femoral hair afferents. Interneurons with receptive fields on the tibia have branches in neuropil between the tarsal and femoral projections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Ganglia / cytology
  • Ganglia / physiology
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Hair / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / ultrastructure
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent* / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent* / ultrastructure