Cholinergic interneurons in the feeding system of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. II. N1 interneurons make cholinergic synapses with feeding m otoneurons
The N1 neurons are a population of interneurons active during the protraction phase of the feeding rhythm . All the N1 neurons are coupled by electrical synapses which persist in a high Mg/low Ca saline which blocks chemical synapses. Individual N1 spikes produce discrete electrotonic postsynaptic potentials (PSPS) in other N1 cells, but the coupling is not strong enough to ensure 1:1 firing. Bursts of N1 spikes generate com pound PSPS in the feeding motoneurons. The sign (excitation or inhibition) of the N1 input corresponds with the synaptic barrage recorded during the protraction phase. Discrete PSPS are only resolved in a Hi-Di saline. Their variation in latency and number can be explained by variation in electrotonic propagation within the electrically coupled network of N1 cells. The excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPS) in the 1 cell are reduced by 0.5 mM antagonists hexamethonium (HMT), atropine (ATR), curare (d-TC) and by methylxylocholine (MeXCh), all of which block the excitatory cholinergic receptor (Elliott et al. (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 336, 157-166 (Preceding paper.) (1992)). The 1 cell EPSPS were transiently blocked by phenyltrimethylammonium (PTMA), which is both an agonist and antagonist at the 1 cell excitatory acetylcholine (ACh) receptor (Elliott et al. 1992). The inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP) in the 3 cell is blocked by bath applications of MeXCh and PTM A , which both abolish the response of the 3 cell to ACh (Elliott et al. 1992). It is concluded that the population of N1 cells are multiaction, premotor cholinergic interneurons.