Reversal of relative thresholds for synaptic facilitation and increased excitability induced by serotonin and tail nerve stimulation in Aplysia sensory neurons

Silvia A. Bunge, Juliane Mauelshagen, Thomas J. Carew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Tail shock induces reflex sensitization in Aplysia and, in parallel, induces a number of modulatory effects in central neurons, such as increased excitability in tail sensory neurons (SNs) and facilitation of synaptic transmission from SNs to motor neurons. Both of these modulatory effects are mimicked by exogenous application of serotonin (5HT) or electrical stimulation of the tail nerve P9. In the present study we examined the activation thresholds for increased excitability and synaptic facilitation induced by either 5HT or P9 stimulation. We found that the concentration of SHT sufficient to produce a significant increase in excitability produced no significant synaptic facilitation and, conversely, that the intensity of nerve stimulation sufficient to produce significant synaptic facilitation produced no excitability changes. This reversal of relative thresh-olds for these modulatory effects may reflect the differential access of exogenous 5HT and endogenous 5HT (released by tail nerve stimulation) to the SN cell body and synaptic terminals, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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