Combined intracellular stimulation and high speed video motion analysis of motor control neurons in the cockroach

J Neurosci Methods. Sep-Oct 1995;61(1-2):151. doi: 10.1016/0165-0270(95)00037-u.


A complete understanding of motor control circuitry requires detailed analysis of the behavior produced by the circuitry as well as the connections between individual neurons. A technique is described for combining high speed video motion analysis of leg movements in the cockroach with electrophysiological techniques such as intracellular stimulation/recording from central neurons and EMG recording from leg muscles. Using a restrained preparation, we have quantified leg movements evoked by intracellular stimulation of individual motor neurons and local interneurons. By incorporating motion analysis into the recording paradigm, the transfer functions from electrical activity to movements can be derived. Because distinct and characteristic responses to single and multiple action potentials are seen in slow, intermediate, and fast motor neurons, it is often possible to identify the motor neuron targets of local interneurons. The ability to analyze movement in any plane is especially useful in situations such as blind neuropilar penetrations, where a more restricted motion transducer arrangement may not be in register with the impaled cell. In addition, it is possible to record and analyze such complex phenomena as coordinated movements in multiple joints produced by local interneurons and reflexes produced by proprioceptive feedback due to activity of one motor neuron.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cockroaches
  • Electromyography
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Tibia / physiology*
  • Video Recording / methods*