Muscarinic actions in Xenopus laevis tadpole swimming
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Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) mediate effects of acetylcholine (ACh) in many systems, including those involved in locomotion. In the stage 37/38 Xenopus laevis tadpole, a well-understood model system of vertebrate locomotion, mAChRs have been found to be located on motor neurons with evidence suggesting that mAChRs are involved in swimming behaviour. The current study aimed to further investigate the role of mAChR-mediated cholinergic transmission by employing extracellular and whole-cell patch clamp recordings to examine the effects of mAChR activation on the properties of different types of neurons in the Xenopus laevis tadpole swimming circuit. It was found that mAChR activation can increase the threshold for initiating swimming by skin stimulation and can lead to the generation of spontaneous motor output in the absence of physical stimuli. These effects were found to be a result of direct inhibition of dorsolateral sensory interneurons of the mechanosensory pathway, direct inhibition of glycinergic inhibitory interneurons in the CPG and a decrease in CPG neuron firing reliability during swimming. The data presented here comprise the first whole-cell patch-clamp investigation into mAChR-mediated cholinergic transmission in the Xenopus laevis tadpole swimming circuit and provide novel evidence that mAChRs modulate the properties of mechanosensory pathway and CPG neurons in this model system of vertebrate locomotion.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2018-10-30
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 30th October 2018