Chemical-neuroanatomical organization of peripheral sensory-efferent systems in the pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

Réka Horváth, Izabella Battonyai, Gábor Maász, János Schmidt, Zsuzsanna N Fekete, Károly Elekes
Brain Structure & Function 2020 September 20
Perception and processing of chemical cues are crucial for aquatic gastropods, for proper elaboration of adaptive behavior. The pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, is a model species of invertebrate neurobiology, in which peripheral sensory neurons with different morphology and transmitter content have partly been described, but we have little knowledge regarding their functional morphological organization, including their possible peripheral intercellular connections and networks. Therefore the aim of our study was to characterize the sensory system of the tentacles and the lip, as primary sensory regions, and the anterior foot of Lymnaea with special attention to the transmitter content of the sensory neurons, and their relationship to extrinsic elements of the central nervous system. Numerous bipolar sensory cells were demonstrated in the epithelial layer of the peripheral organs, displaying immunoreactivity to antibodies raised against tyrosine hydroxylase, histamine, glutamate and two molluscan type oligopeptides, FMRFamide and Mytilus inhibitory peptide. A subepithelial plexus was formed by extrinsic serotonin and FMRFamide immunoreactive fibers, whereas in deeper regions axon processess of different origin with various immunoreactivities formed networks, too. HPLC-MS assay confirmed the presence of the low molecular weight signal molecules in the three examined areas. Following double-labeling immunohistochemistry, close arrangements were observed, formed by sensory neurons and extrinsic serotonergic (and FMRFamidergic) fibers at axo-dendritic, axo-somatic and axo-axonic levels. Our results suggest the involvement of a much wider repertoire of signal molecules in peripheral sensory processes of Lymnaea, which can locally be modified by central input, hence influencing directly the responses to environmental cues.

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