Altered excitability of goldfish mauthner cell following axotomy. I. Characterization and correlations with somatic and axonal morphological reactions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Axonal transection 7-10 mm distal to the cell body of the goldfish Mauthner (M) cell induced alterations in its excitability; namely, the antidromic spike recorded in the soma was converted from a single-component axon-hillock response to a larger amplitude, two-component impulse. The mean spike amplitude of the axotomized cells was approximately 50% greater (59.6 +/- 15.1 mV, n = 94) than that in controls (39.4 +/- 6.3 mV, n = 73). The onset of the induced increase in spike amplitude occurs at approximately 20 days postaxotomy, and the transition to a reactive spike is complete by approximately 30-35 days. Eighty-three percent of the M-cells axotomized for more than 30 days were physiologically reactive as judged by their large spike amplitudes and/or the presence of an additional spike component. Concomitant with the enhanced spike amplitudes, there was a depression of excitability in the initial segment-axon hillock region of the axotomized cells. This depression was suggested by a decrease in the initial segment (IS) spike height (from 39.4 +/- 6.3 mV, n = 73, in controls to 27.5 +/- 5.6 mV, n = 13, in axotomized cells), a decrease in its maximum rate of rise (from 153.6 +/- 24 V/s, n = 15, to 112.5 +/- 30 V/s, n = 29), and frequent failure of antidromic invasion into the initial segment and axon hillock. These changes in excitability could not be attributed to alterations in passive membrane properties, since the mean resting potential (77.8 +/- 5.2 mV, n = 37, control; 76.9 +/- 7.8 mV, n = 87, axotomized) and input resistance (170 +/- 21.3 K omega, n = 13, control; 176 +/- 26.6 K omega, n = 21, axotomized) were not altered significantly by axotomy. Threshold voltage was also unaffected (13.4 +/- 3.2 mV, n = 11, control; 11.9 +/- 2.5 mV, n = 11, axotomized). Sequential recordings of spike amplitudes from the axon hillock, soma, and lateral dendrite suggest that the generator of the axotomy-induced component is localized to the normally passive soma and proximal dendrite. In addition, the presumed soma-dendritic In addition, the presumed soma-dendritic component contributes very little if anything to the action potentials recorded in the axon. The onset and occurrence of alterations in excitability and cell body morphology (chromatolysis and nuclear associated changes) were compared in different M-cell populations and in the same identified M-cells. The comparisons suggested that these two events tend to occur in parallel.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

publication date

  • June 1986