ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-980602-8
Physiological properties of the Mauthner system in the adult zebrafish
Hatta, K. and Korn, H.
Date: 1998
Source: The Journal of comparative neurology   395: 493-509 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Hatta, Kohei, Korn, Henri
Keywords: axon cap; field effects; electrical inhibition; chemical inhibition; auditory response; electrical excitation
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Axons/physiology
  • Axons/ultrastructure
  • Brain/physiology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Goldfish/physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interneurons/physiology
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Neurons/cytology*
  • Neurons/physiology*
  • Neurons/ultrastructure
  • Reaction Time
  • Spinal Cord/cytology
  • Spinal Cord/physiology*
  • Synapses/physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Zebrafish/physiology*
PubMed: 9619502 Full text @ J. Comp. Neurol.
We investigated the morphological and electrophysiological properties of the Mauthner (M-) cell and its networks in the adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) in comparison with those in the goldfish (Carassius auratus). The zebrafish M-cell has an axon cap, a high resistivity structure which surrounds the initial segment of the M-axon, and accounts for an unusual amplification of the fields generated within and around it. Second, extra- and intracellular recordings were performed with microelectrodes. The resting potential was approximately -80 mV with an input resistance of approximately 0.42 M omega. The M-cell extracellular field was large (10-20 mV), close to the axon hillock, and the latency of antidromic spikes short (approximately 0.4 milliseconds), confirming a high conduction velocity in the M-axon. The extrinsic hyperpolarizing potential (EHP), which signals firing of presynaptic cells and collateral inhibition, was markedly lower at frequencies of spinal stimulation > approximately 5/second, suggesting an organization of the recurrent collateral network similar to that in the goldfish. Inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) were highly voltage-dependent; their decay time constant was increased by depolarizations. The presynaptic neurons which are numerous could be identified by their passive hyperpolarizing potential (PHP) produced by the M-spike current. Auditory responses, mediated via mixed synapses (electrical and chemical), had short delays and hence are well suited to trigger the escape reaction. The similarities of their properties indicate that the wealth of information generated over decades in the goldfish can be extrapolated to the zebrafish.