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Response properties of the electrosensory neurons in hindbrain of the white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus


Objective The passive electrosense is a primitive sensory modality in the Chondrostei, which include sturgeon and paddlefish. Using electroreceptors, these fish detect the weak electric fields from other animals or geoelectric sources, and use this information for prey detection or other behaviors. The primary afferent fibers innervating the electroreceptors project to a single hindbrain target called the dorsal octavolateral nucleus (DON), where the electrosensory information is first processed. Here, we investigated the electrophysiological properties of DON neurons. Methods Extracellular recording was used to investigate the response properties of DON neurons to dipole electric fields with different amplitudes and frequencies in the white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus. Results The DON neurons showed regular spontaneous activity and could be classified into two types: neurons with a low spontaneous rate (<10 Hz) and those with a high spontaneous rate (>10 Hz). In response to sinusoidal electric field stimuli, DON neurons showed sinusoidally-modulated and phase-locked firing. In addition, neurons showed opposite phase responses corresponding to the different directions of the dipole. Conclusion The response properties of DON neurons match the electrosensory biological function in sturgeon, as they match the characteristics of the electric fields of its prey.

Type Journal
ISBN 1995-8218 (Electronic) 1995-8218 (Linking)
Authors Zhang, X.; Herzog, H.; Song, J.; Wang, X.; Fan, C.; Guo, H.;
Publisher Name Neurosci Bull
Published Date 2011-01-01
Published Volume 27
Published Issue 6
Published Pages 422-9
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version