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Two bidirectional nerve cord systems converging with electrical and chemical synapses on the Retzius cells of the leech Hirudo Medicinalis



Two bidirectional nerve cord systems converging with electrical and chemical synapses on the Retzius cells of the leech Hirudo Medicinalis



Archives Italiennes de Biologie 119(2): 160-177



Electrical stimulation of the ventral cord of H. medicinalis elicits in both Retzius' cells of each segmental ganglion an EPSP which is composed by an early and a late component. The early EPSP is electrical in nature, since it is unaffected by displacements of the membrane potential and by high Mg2+, whereas the late one is chemical, being reversed in sign by membrane depolarization and suppressed by high Mg2+. Latency measurements show that the electrical and chemical EPSP components are mediated by two different pathways characterized by conduction velocities of 0.5 and 0.3 m/sec respectively. Both pathways run in each of the lateral connectives and propagate impulses in anterior and posterior direction. Collision experiments show that ascending and descending impulses along the pathway mediating the electrical EPSP travel along the same fibres. Separate stimulation of the lateral connectives and selective inactivation of one Retzius' cell show that both pathways converge onto each Retzius' cell show that both pathways converge onto each Retzius cell. The possible functional significance of the two excitatory pathways is discussed.

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Accession: 022037769

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PMID: 7259396


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