Serotonin-induced changes in the excitability of cultured antennal-lobe neurons of the sphinx moth Manduca sexta

A. R. Mercer, P. Kloppenburg, J. G. Hildebrand

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49 Scopus citations


The modulatory actions of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT or serotonin) on a morphologically identifiable class of neurons dissociated from antennal lobes of Manduca sexta at stages 9-15 of the 18 stages of metamorphic adult development were examined in vitro with whole-cell patch-clamp recording techniques. Action potentials could be elicited from approximately 20% of the cells. These cells were used to examine effects of 5HT (5 × 10-6 to 5 × 10-4 M) on cell excitability and action-potential waveform. 5HT increased the number of spikes elicited by a constant depolarizing current pulse and reduced the latency of responses. 5HT also led to broadening of action potentials in these neurons and increased cell input resistance. Modulation of potassium channels by 5HT is likely to contribute to these responses. 5HT causes reversible reduction of at least 3 distinct potassium currents, one of which is described for the first time in this study. Because effects of 5HT on antennal-lobe neurons in culture mimic those observed in situ in the brain of the adult moth, in vitro analysis should contribute to elucidation of the cellular mechanisms that underlie the modulatory effects of 5HT on central olfactory neurons in the moth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • 5-Hydroxytryptamine
  • Antennal lobe
  • Cell culture
  • Neuromodulation
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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