Modulatory projection neurons alter network neuron synaptic and intrinsic properties to elicit multiple different outputs. Sensory and other inputs elicit a range of modulatory neuron activity that is further shaped by network feedback, yet little is known regarding how the impact of network feedback on modulatory neurons regulates network output across a physiological range of modulatory neuron activity. Identified network neurons, a fully described connectome, and a well-characterized, identified modulatory projection neuron enabled us to address this issue in the crab (Cancer borealis) stomatogastric nervous system. The modulatory neuron modulatory commissural neuron 1 (MCN1) activates and modulates two networks that generate rhythms via different cellular mechanisms and at distinct frequencies. MCN1 is activated at rates of 5–35 Hz in vivo and in vitro. Additionally, network feedback elicits MCN1 activity time-locked to motor activity. We asked how network activation, rhythm speed, and neuron activity levels are regulated by the presence or absence of network feedback across a physiological range of MCN1 activity rates. There were both similarities and differences in responses of the two networks to MCN1 activity. Many parameters in both networks were sensitive to network feedback effects on MCN1 activity. However, for most parameters, MCN1 activity rate did not determine the extent to which network output was altered by the addition of network feedback. These data demonstrate that the influence of network feedback on modulatory neuron activity is an important determinant of network output and feedback can be effective in shaping network output regardless of the extent of network modulation.
- stomatogastric nervous system
- central pattern generator
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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