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Spontaneous electrical activity and behavior in the leech hirudo medicinalis



Spontaneous electrical activity and behavior in the leech hirudo medicinalis



Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 1: 8



In the absence of external stimuli, animals explore the environment by performing irregular movements, but the neuronal mechanisms underlying this arrhythmic motion are largely unknown. In this paper, we studied the relationship between the spontaneous neuronal activity in the leech (Hirudo medicinalis) and its behavior. We analyzed the electrical activity of isolated ganglia, chains of two connected ganglia, and semi-intact preparations. The spontaneous electrical activity in ganglia was characterized by the occurrence of irregular bursts of spikes with variable duration and size. Properties of these bursts were modified by synaptic inputs arriving from the neighboring ganglia and from the two primitive brains located in the head and tail. In fact, in semi-intact preparations, unusually large bursts of spikes occurring spontaneously were recorded and caused the leech to move even in the absence of any external sensory stimulation. These large bursts appear to act as internal triggers controlling the spontaneous leech behavior and determining the duration of stereotypical motor patterns.

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Accession: 055889013

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18958236

DOI: 10.3389/neuro.07.008.2007


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