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Synaptic organization of a multifunctional interneuron in the central nervous system of Helix pomatia L.


The morphology, axonal arborization and ultrastructure of synaptic connections of the V21 giant neuron in the visceral ganglion of the snail Helix pomatia has been investigated following intracellular labelling with horseradish peroxidase. The V21 neuron establishes several afferent and efferent axo-axonic connections, mainly along the first half of the primary axon. Collaterals of 200–300 μm length originate from the primary axon, which shows further arborization, and both afferent and efferent synaptic contacts are formed on these fine axon profiles. Afferent and efferent contacts of the cell occur within very short distances of a few micrometers. On the basis of ultrastructure and vesicle and granule content, several afferent terminals can be distinguished on V21 labelled axon profiles. The majority of these afferent terminals resembles peptidergic-(neurosecretory)-like terminals. This finding supports the possible transmitter role of neuropeptides in the central nervous system of gastropods. Our results are consistent with and provide morphological evidence for recent electrophysiological observations suggesting that, in addition to integrating input, the V21 neuron functions as an interneuron in Helix central nervous system.

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Correspondence to Dr. K. Elekes.

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Elekes, K., -Rózsa, K.S. Synaptic organization of a multifunctional interneuron in the central nervous system of Helix pomatia L.. Cell Tissue Res. 236, 677–683 (1984).

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Key words

  • Interneuron
  • Synaptology
  • Ultrastructure
  • Horseradish peroxidase
  • Helix pomatia