Electrophysiological and behavioural analysis of lip touch as a component of the food stimulus in unconditioned feeding of the snail Lymnaea

Staras, Kevin, Kemenes, György and Benjamin, Paul R (1999) Electrophysiological and behavioural analysis of lip touch as a component of the food stimulus in unconditioned feeding of the snail Lymnaea. Journal of Neurophysiology, 81 (3). pp. 1261-1273. ISSN 0022-3077

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Abstract

Electrophysiological and video recording methods were used to investigate the function of lip touch in feeding ingestion behavior of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Although this stimulus was used successfully as a conditioning stimulus (CS) in appetitive learning experiments, the detailed role of lip touch as a component of the sensory stimulus provided by food in unconditioned feeding behavior was never ascertained. Synaptic responses to lip touch in identified feeding motoneurons, central pattern generator interneurons, and modulatory interneurons were recorded by intracellular electrodes in a semi-intact preparation. We showed that touch evoked a complex but characteristic sequence of synaptic inputs on each neuron type. Touch never simply activated feeding cycles but provided different types of synaptic input, determined by the feeding phase in which the neuron was normally active in the rhythmic feeding cycle. The tactile stimulus evoked mainly inhibitory synaptic inputs in protraction-phase neurons and excitation in rasp-phase neurons. Swallow-phase neurons were also excited after some delay, suggesting that touch first reinforces the rasp then swallow phase. Video analysis of freely feeding animals demonstrated that during normal ingestion of a solid food flake the food is drawn across the lips throughout the rasp phase and swallow phase and therefore provides a tactile stimulus during both these retraction phases of the feeding cycle. The tactile component of the food stimulus is strongest during the rasp phase when the lips are actively pressed onto the substrate that is being moved across them by the radula. By using a semi-intact preparation we demonstrated that application of touch to the lips during the rasp phase of a sucrose-driven fictive feeding rhythm increases both the regularity and frequency of rasp- phase motoneuron firing compared with sucrose applied alone.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Kevin Staras
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:16
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2012 14:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30585
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