Monoamine control of the pacemaker kernel and cycle frequency in the lobster pyloric network

Amir Ayali*, Ronald M. Harris-Warrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The monoamines dopamine (DA), serotonin (5HT), and octopamine (Oct) can each sculpt a unique motor pattern from the pyloric network in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus. In this paper we investigate the contribution of individual network components in determining the specific amine-induced cycle frequency. We used photoinactivation of identified neurons and pharmacological blockade of synapses to isolate the anterior burster (AB) and pyloric dilator (PD) neurons. Bath application of DA, 5HT, or Oct enhanced cycle frequency in an isolated AB neuron, with DA generating the most rapid oscillations and Oct the slowest. When an AB-PD or AB-2xPD subnetworks were tested, DA often reduced the ongoing cycle frequency, whereas 5HT and Oct both evoked similar accelerations in cycle frequency. However, in the intact pyloric network, both DA and Oct either reduced or did not alter the cycle frequency, whereas 5HT continued to enhance the cycle frequency as before. Our results show that the major target of 5HT in altering the pyloric cycle frequency is the AB neuron, whereas DA's effects on the AB-2xPD subnetwork are critical in understanding its modulation of the cycle frequency. Octopamine's effects on cycle frequency require an understanding of its modulation of the feedback inhibition to the AB-PD group from the lateral pyloric neuron, which constrains the pacemaker group to oscillate more slowly than it would alone. We have thus demonstrated that the relative importance of the different network components in determining the final cycle frequency is not fixed but can vary under different modulatory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6712-6722
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1999


  • Central pattern generation
  • Dopamine
  • Neuromodulation
  • Octopamine
  • Pacemaker neurons
  • Pyloric network
  • Serotonin
  • Stomatogastric ganglion


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