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Afferent sensillar inputs to the Retzius cell of the leech Hirudo medicinalis.

M. Carretta, M. Zampolini


Water-wave and photic stimulation of the sensilla elicits synaptic potentials identical to those elicited by electrical stimulation of the segmental roots. Mechanical stimulation elicits a localized IPSP and a generalized EPSP in the RCs and an IPSP in the AE motoneurons. Photic stimulation gives rise to a generalized EPSP in the RCs alone. The impulse discharges elicited in the afferent fibers by the two kinds of stimuli is transmitted along the cord both anteriorly and posteriorly to the stimulated segment. This implies that the afferent impulses excite a pool of intersegmental neurons in each ganglion, which distribute their discharges to the adjacent ganglia. The evidence for occlusion between cordal and photically elicited volleys indicates that it shares with the sensillar input a common pool of interneurons. The possible functional significance of the inhibitory and excitatory inputs is discussed.

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