Differential channeling of sensory stimuli onto a motor neuron in the leech

I. Iscla, P. D. Arini, L. Szczupak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We studied a specific sensory-motor pathway in the isolated leech ganglia. Pressure-sensitive mechanosensory neurons were stimulated with trains of action potentials at 5-20 Hz while recording the responses of the annulus erector motorneurons that control annuli erection. The response of the annulus erector neurons was a succession of excitatory postsynaptic potentials followed by inhibitory postsynaptic potentials. The excitatory postsynaptic potentials had a brief time-course while the inhibitory postsynaptic potentials had a prolonged time-course that enabled their temporal summation. Thus, the net effect of pressure-sensitive neuron stimulation on the annulus erector neurons was inhibitory. Both phases of the response were mediated by chemical transmission; the excitatory postsynaptic potentials were transmitted via a monosynaptic pathway, and the inhibitory postsynaptic potentials via a polysynaptic one. The pattern of expression of this dual response depended on the field of innervation of the sensory neuron and it was under the influence of cell 151, a non-spiking interneuron, that could regulate the expression of the hyperpolarization. The interaction between pressure-sensitive neurons and annulus erector neuron reveals how sensory specificity, connectivity pattern and regulatory elements interplay in a specific sensory-motor network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - A Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Electric junction
  • Leech
  • Non-spiking interneuron
  • Sensory integration
  • Sensory-motor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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