Directional sensitivity of the mauthner cell system to vibrational stimulation in zebrafish brachydanio rerio larvae

Eaton, R.C.; Kimmel, C.B.

Journal of Comparative Physiology A Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology 140(4): 337-342

1980


Accession: 005166760

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Abstract
Extracellular recordings were made from the brains of zebrafish (B. rerio larvae with irradiation-induced developmental deletions of 1 or both Mauthner cells (M-cells) to determine if the M-cell mediates directional responses inherent in predator avoidance behavior. A large extracellular field potential was previously attributed to activity of the M-cell. In 2 animals with both M-cells deleted, this potential was absent; it was present in animals with just 1 cell deleted and in irradiated animals with both M-cells. This correlation supports the identification of the potential as the M-spike. In 10 larvae, loss of 1 M-cell did not affect the sensitivity of the remaining cell compared with irradiated controls with both M-cells. The probability of obtaining an M-spike was about 5 times higher when stimulating on the same side as the M-cell body than on the contralateral side. In fish with 1 M-cell, the thresholds and latencies revealed that relative sensitivity of the remaining cell was highest to vibrational stimulation ipsilateral to the M-cell body. In animals with both M-cells present, the ipsilateral cell apparently is activated by vibrational stimuli to cause a directional avoidance response. Behavior observations in this species support this response.