Simultaneous chemical and electrical stimulation of labellar taste hairs of the blowfly Calliphora vicina

F.W. Maes

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    When recording from the tip of insect taste hairs, responses to chemical stimulation may be influenced by electrical currents, such as the preamplifier's input bias current. The effect of electrical currents on firing frequency of the salt receptor cell to KCl and NaCl stimulation was determined in labellar ‘aboral’ and ‘adoral’ taste hairs of the blowfly Calliphora vicina. Negative currents always decreased spike frequency, whereas positive currents either increased it, or did not change it significantly. Spike frequency changed less than 1% per 5 × 10−11 A.

    A consistent picture of the electrophysiology of blowfly taste hairs is given. It includes a distal pore, present in the dendrite-free lumen of the hair. It abandons the concept of a generator current that transmits excitation from the distal, chemoreceptive part of the taste cell dendrite to the action potential generator in or near the taste cell body. The experimental results are interpreted on the basis of this picture. It is concluded that the ‘electrophoretic effect’ of the electrical current is very small. Thus, the measured effect should mainly be due to a ‘direct effect’ of electrical current on electrically excitable structures in the salt receptor cell, particularly in its dendrite.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-460
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1977

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