Effects of Strychnine on Fictive Swimming in the Lamprey: Evidence for Glycinergic Inhibition, Discrepancies with Model Predictions, and Novel Modulatory Rhythms

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11 p.

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Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology

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  1. Inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (ipsps) produced by two classes of interneurons, CC (contralateral and caudal projecting) and lateral interneurons, were tested for strychnine sensitivity using paired intracellular recordings in the lamprey spinal cord. The ipsps were partially blocked by 0.2–0.5 μM strychnine and were completely blocked by 5 μM strychnine. Thus, the ipsps may be glycinergic.

  2. These interneurons are key participants in a proposed circuit model for fictive swimming. A connectionist type computer simulation of the model demonstrated that the cycle period of the network increased with decreasing ipsp strength.

  3. Application of strychnine (0.1–0.5 μM) to the spinal cord during fictive swimming induced by an excitatory amino acid increased cycle period, consistent with previous reports, but at odds with stimulation predictions.

  4. Strychnine also produced slow rhythmic modulation of fictive swimming (period = 12 s) which maintained left-right alternation and rostral-caudal coordination. Auto- and cross-correlation analyses revealed that the slow modulation was present in a weaker form in most control preparations during fictive swimming.

  5. Since the proposed model for the swimming pattern generator in the lamprey spinal cord does not predict the observed speeding with strychnine, nor the slow modulatory rhythm, it appears to be deficient in its present formulation.


Journal of Comparative Physiology A. Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, Vol. 175, No. 3 (September 1994): 311-321. DOI.