Evidence from a variety of both vertebrate and invertebrate preparations has demonstrated that modulation of the intrinsic firing patterns of individual neurons can have a dramatic effect on the functional output of a neural circuit. Although the mechanisms underlying the production and modulation of intrinsic firing patterns have been extensively studied in adult nervous systems, relatively little is known about how these two features of intrinsically active neurons develop. To address these issues, we have examined the development of endogenous bursting and its modulation by neuropeptides in the identified cell R15 of juvenile Aplysia. Confirming Ohmori (1981), we found that the mature parabolic bursting pattern of R15 is absent in early juvenile stages and develops only gradually over the last stage of juvenile development. We have then analyzed the modulatory effects of extracts made from the neurosecretory bag cells of Aplysia on the immature firing pattern of juvenile R15 cells. In the adult, neuroactive peptides released from the bag cells are known to intensify bursting. In juveniles, we have found that bag cell extract (BCE) can induce bursting prematurely as well as intensify immature bursts, whereas control extracts have no effect on the firing pattern of R15. These results show that the ionic currents necessary for the generation of endogenous bursting in R15 are present and can be modulated before the normal developmental expression of the burst pattern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience