Action of the octavolateralis efferent system upon the lateral line of free-swimming toadfish, Opsanus tau

Tricas, T.C.; Highstein, S.M.

Journal of Comparative Physiology. a Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology 169(1): 25-37


PMID: 1941716
DOI: 10.1007/bf00198170
Accession: 039163842

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The activation and action of the octavolateralis efferent system was studied by chronic recordings of discharge patterns from putative efferent and single primary afferent neurons in alert, free-swimming toadfish. Efferent axons isolated in the anterior lateral line nerve showed phasic discharges following touch stimuli applied to the head or trunk and demonstrated sustained discharges to visual stimuli. Resting discharge patterns of primary afferents were categorized into irregular, burster, regular, and silent classes. Afferent discharges were often modulated by low frequency (less than 1 Hz) water movement around the head generated during respiratory movements. When fish with recording electrodes implanted in the lateral line nerve were visually stimulated, modulated peak discharges and average (DC) firing rates were inhibited in irregular-type units only. Inhibition of irregular-type afferent neurons also followed visual presentation of natural prey and persisted long after prey stimuli were removed from view. The inhibitory action upon lateralis afferents when activated by biologically significant visual stimuli leads to the hypothesis that the octavolateralis efferent system functions in the peripheral processing of information carried by the lateral line in natural settings.