Physiological properties and receptive fields of mechanosensory neurones in the head ganglion of the leech: comparison with homologous cells in segmental ganglia.

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Abstract

A study of the head ganglion of the leech was made to compare the properties of specific sensory cells in this ganglion with those of homologous neurones in the segmental ganglia. 1. In the head ganglion, cells were identified that had electrical properties, sensory modalities and adaptation properties similar to those of touch (T), pressure (P) and nociceptive (N) cells in the segmental ganglia. The cell bodies of these neurones were situated in characteristics positions that could be correlated with those in the segmental ganglia. Several lines of evidence suggested that they were primary sensory neurones. Fewer T, P and N neurones were identified in the head ganglion than would be expected from its six constituent segmental ganglia. 2. The receptive fields of identified T, P and N cells were situated on the external surface of the head and the interior of the mouth with considerable overlap. They were generally smaller in size than those situated on the main part of the body. The receptive fields were also displaced anteriorly so that some of them were situated in segments anterior to those of the innervating cells. 3. The morphology of the sensory cells in the head ganglion was studied by intracellular injection of horseradish perioxidase. The general branching characteristics of the cells and the structural appearance of their processes resembled those of homologous cells in the segmental ganglia. However, the routes taken to the periphery by some of the cells were not constant from head ganglion to head ganglion. This variability was confirmed by electrophysiological evidence, and differed from the constancy seen in segmental sensory cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-512
Number of pages24
JournalThe Journal of physiology
Volume263
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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