In the walking legs of decapod crustaceans, intersegmental reflex actions originate from various joint proprioceptors. The activity of the ‘accessory flexor’ (AF) muscle, which with the myochordotonal organ (MCO) constitutes a muscle proprioceptor for the mero-carpopodite (M-C) joint, is modulated by the sensory discharge of a joint receptor (CB chordotonal organ) for the more proximal, coxo-basal (C-B) joint. Selective mechanical stimulation of the CB organ also reflexly modifies the motor activities of the main M-C flexor and extensor muscles (recorded as EMGs). 1. Dynamic CB stretch (as would occur during a dorso-ventral C-B movement - i.e. ‘depression’ of the limb) stimulates motor discharge to the M-C extensor muscle, while dynamic release of CB (as during a ventrodorsal C-B movement - or leg ‘elevation’) excites the accessory flexor as well as the main flexor muscle. 2. Successive M-C muscle responses to repetitive sinusoidal changes of CB length differ quantitatively according to the direction (stretch or release) of the first CB movement, in some cases increasing but more commonly ‘adapting’ with repetition. 3. Reflex discharge frequencies of the extensor, flexor and accessory flexor motoneurones increase with velocity of CB movement. 4. Eye illumination, and spontaneous or other sources of increased central excitability, generally increase the CB reflex drive to the flexor and accessory flexor muscles and, in parallel, decrease the reflex action on the extensor muscle. The results are discussed in terms of the role of proprioceptive reflexes in intersegmental co-ordination of the leg joints. In particular the significance of the reflex regulation of the myochordotonal receptors, and thereby the gain of the M-C resistance reflexes, is considered in the light of the observed ‘co-activation’ of main flexor and receptor muscle motoneurones.
Intersegmental reflex actions from a joint sensory organ (CB) to a muscle receptor (MCO) in decapod crustacean limbs
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B. M. Bush, J. P. Vedel, F. Clarac; Intersegmental reflex actions from a joint sensory organ (CB) to a muscle receptor (MCO) in decapod crustacean limbs. J Exp Biol 1 April 1978; 73 (1): 47–63. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.73.1.47
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