Acetylcholine activates cerebral interneurons and feeding motor program in Limax maximus

Michael S. King, Kerry Delaney, Alan Gelperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The cellular and network effects of acetylcholine (ACh) on the control system for feeding in Limax maximus were measured by intracellular recordings from feeding command‐like interneurons and whole nerve recordings from buccal ganglion motor nerve roots that normally innervate the ingestive feeding muscles. The buccal ganglion motor nerve root discharge pattern that causes rhythmic feeding movements, termed the feeding motor program (FMP), was elicited either by attractive taste solutions applied to the lip chemoreceptors or by ACh applied to the cerebral ganglia. The ability of exogeneous ACh applied to the cerebral ganglia to trigger FMP was blocked by the cholinergic antagonists curare and atropine. If the strength of the lip‐applied taste stimulus was in the range of 1–2 times threshold, cerebral application of the cholinergic antagonists blocked or greatly decreased the ability of lip‐applied taste solutions to trigger FMP (5 of 8 trials). The cerebral feeding interneurons, some of which activate FMP when stimulated intracellularly, are excited by small pulses of ACh applied directly to the cell body from an ACh‐filled micropipette. A pulse of ACh that activates several of the feeding interneurons simultaneously triggers FMP. The data suggest that under certain stimulus conditions an obligatory set of cholinergic synapses onto the feedininterneurons must be activated for taste inputs to trigger ingestion. The determination of ACh's action within the feeding control system is necessary for understanding how enhanced cholinergic transmission leads to prolonged associative memory retention (Sahley, et al., 1986).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-530
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • General Neuroscience


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