Octopamine modulates the axons of modulatory projection neurons

Jean Marc Goaillard, David J. Schulz, Valerie L. Kilman, Eve Marder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Octopamine increases the cycle frequency of the pyloric rhythm in the crab Cancer borealis by acting at multiple sites within the stomatogastric nervous system. The junction between the stomatogastric nerve (stn) and the superior esophageal nerve (son) shows synaptic structures. When applied only to the stn-son junction, octopamine induced action potentials in the axons of the modulatory commissural neuron 5 (MCN5) that project from the commissural ganglia to the stomatogastric ganglion (STG). The activation of the MCN5 neurons was correlated with an increase in the pyloric rhythm frequency. Additionally, octopamine had direct effects on the STG, including the activation of the pyloric dilator and pyloric neurons, an increase in the pyloric frequency, and a change in the phase relationships of the pyloric neurons. Thus, the same modulator can influence the pyloric rhythm by acting at multiple sites, including the axons of identified modulatory neurons that project to the STG. These data demonstrate that axonal propagation may be influenced locally by neuromodulators acting on axonal receptors, therefore altering the conduction of information from different command and integrating centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7063-7073
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 11 2004


  • Axonal synapse
  • Central pattern generator
  • Crabs
  • Crustaceans
  • Neuromodulation
  • Spike initiation
  • Stomatogastric ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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