Long-term sensitization in Aplysia: biophysical correlates in tail sensory neurons

Science  06 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4789, pp. 685-687
DOI: 10.1126/science.2433766


A fundamental problem in the cellular analysis of learning and memory is the identification of the neuronal substrates of long-term information storage and their relation to short-term cellular alterations. In this report, biophysical correlates of long-term sensitization of a simple withdrawal reflex in the mollusc Aplysia were examined. A voltage-clamp analysis of the sensory neurons that control the reflex, 24 hours after sensitization training, revealed a significant reduction in net outward current. The results indicate that one mechanism for the storage of long-term sensitization is the regulation of membrane currents that influence the characteristics of the action potential and the excitability of individual neurons. The results also provide insights into the relation between short- and long-term sensitization in that the biophysical loci involved in the storage of long-term sensitization appear similar to those involved in short-term sensitization.

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