Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology
Studies were performed on spinal neurons from lampreys isolated by an enzymatic/mechanical method using pronase. The effects of 100 µM serotonin (5-HT) on membrane potential oscillations induced by a variety of excitatory amino acids were studied. 5-HT was found to depolarize branched cells (presumptive motoneurons and interneurons) by 2–6 mV without inducing membrane potential oscillations. However, when oscillations were already present because of an excitatory amino acid, 5-HT changed the parameters of these oscillations, increasing the amplitudes of all types of oscillations, increasing the frequency of irregular oscillations, and increasing the duration of the depolarization plateaus accompanied by action potentials. Serotonin modulation of the effects of excitatory amino acids and the electrical activity of cells in the neural locomotor network facilitates motor activity and leads to increases in the contraction of truncal muscles and more intense movements by the animal. The possible mechanisms of receptor coactivation are discussed, along with increases in action potential frequency and changes in the parameters of the locomotor rhythm.