Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Presynaptic inhibition in the phallic neuromuscular system of the cockroachPeriplaneta americana

  • 22 Accesses

  • 6 Citations


  1. 1.

    GABA 10−4 W/V applied to the phallic neuromuscular system of the cockroach markedly reduced the amplitude of evoked epsp's without appreciable change in membrane resistance.

  2. 2.

    In most of the cells studied GABA did not cause any change in membrane-conductance. In two cases, only, a transient increase in membrane conductance was observed after application of 10−4 W/V GABA.

  3. 3.

    In one cell only, was there a sustained effect of GABA, to reduce the time constant of decay of epsp's.

  4. 4.

    It is concluded that, if at all, post-synaptic inhibitory receptors are found in the phallic muscle cells, they show rapid desensitization.

  5. 5.

    The effect of GABA to reduce the amplitude of evoked epsp's, the lack of change in amplitude histogram of mepp's and the reduction of mepp frequency all point that GABA acts presynaptically on the excitatory nerve terminals.

  6. 6.

    Picrotoxin 10−3 W/V or removal of chloride ions abolished the effects of GABA.

  7. 7.

    The presence of inhibitory axons which act presynaptically to reduce the release of excitatory transmitter, was demonstrated by “timing experiments”.

  8. 8.

    The method described enables identification of inhibitory axons, neither with the physical isolation of an inhibitory axon, nor with the presence of ipsp's which usually serve as a “marker” in “timing experiments”.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Atwood, H. L.: γ-Aminobutyric acid and crab muscle fibers. Experientia (Basel)20, 161–163 (1964).

  2. Atwood, H. L.: Crustacean neuromuscular mechanism. Amer. Zoologist7, 527–551 (1967).

  3. Atwood, H. L., Parnas, I., Wiersma, C.A.G.: Inhibition in crustacean phasic neuromuscular system. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.20, 163–177 (1967).

  4. Atwood, H. L., Parnas, I.: Synaptic transmission in crustacean muscles with dual motor innervation. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.27, 381–404 (1968).

  5. Dudel, J.: The mechanism of presynaptic inhibition at the crayfish neuromuscular junction. Pflügers Arch. ges. Physiol.284, 66–80 (1965a).

  6. Dudel, J.: The action of inhibitory drugs on nerve terminals in crayfish muscle. Pflügers Arch. ges. Physiol.284, 81–94 (1965b).

  7. Dudel, J., Kuffler, S.W.: Presynaptic inhibition at the crayfish neuromuscular junction. J. Physiol. (Lond.)155, 543–562 (1961).

  8. Epstein, R., Grundfest, H.: Desensitization of GABA receptors in muscle fibers of the crabCancer borealis. J. gen. Physiol.56, 33–45 (1970).

  9. Gerschenfeld, H. M., Lasansky, A.: Action of glutamic acid and other naturally occuring amino-acids on snail central neurones. Int. J. Neuropharmacol.3, 301–314 (1964).

  10. Gerschenfeld, H. M., Tauc, L.: Différents aspects de la pharmacologie des synapses dans le système nerveux central des mollusques. J. Physiol. (Paris)56, 360–361 (1964).

  11. Grossman, Y., Parnas, I.: Control mechanisms involved in the regulation of the phallic neuromuscular system of the cockroach,Periplaneta americana. J. comp. Physiol.82, 1–12 (1973).

  12. Katz, B.: Nerve muscle and synapse. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc. 1967.

  13. Kennedy, D., Takeda, K.: Reflex control of the abdominal flexor muscles in the crayfish. I. The twitch system. J. exp. Biol.43, 211–227 (1965a).

  14. Kennedy, D., Takeda, K.: Reflex control of the abdominal flexor muscle in the crayfish. II. The tonic system. J. exp. Biol.43, 229–246 (1965b).

  15. Kravitz, E. A., Kuffler, S.W., Potter, D.D.: Gamma-aminobutyric acid and other blocking compounds in Crustacea. III. Their relative concentrations in separated motor and inhibitory axons. J. Neurophysiol.26, 739–751 (1963).

  16. Parnas, I., Abbott, B. C., Shapiro, B., Lang, F.: Neuromuscular system ofLimulus leg closer muscle. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.26, 467–478 (1968).

  17. Parnas, I., Atwood, H. L.: Phasic and tonic neuromuscular system in the abdominal extensor muscles of the crayfish and rock lobster. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.18, 701–723 (1966).

  18. Parnas, I., Sarne, Y.: Differences between GABA receptors in two muscles innervated by common inhibitory axon. Israel J. med. Sci.8, 1770 (1972).

  19. Sarne, J., Parnas, I., Rahamimoff, R.: Tonic inhibition in crustacean nerve muscle synapses. Israel J. med. Sci.8, 1771 (1972).

  20. Usherwood, P. N. R.: Insect neuromuscular mechanism. Amer. Zoologist7, 553–582 (1967).

  21. Usherwood, P. N. R., Grundfest, H.: Inhibitory post-synaptic potentials in grasshopper muscle. Science143, 817–818 (1964).

  22. Usherwood, P. N. R., Grundfest, H.: Peripheral inhibition in skeletal muscle of insects. J. Neurophysiol.28, 497–518 (1965).

  23. Werman, R.: Criteria for identification of a central nervous system transmitter. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.18, 745–766 (1966).

  24. Wiersma, C. A. G.: The neuromuscular system. In: The Physiology of Crustacea. Vol. II. (ed. T. H. Waterman). New York: Academic Press 1961.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

The authors wish to express their appreciation and thanks to Professor R. Werman for the careful and critical reading of the manuscript.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Parnas, I., Grossman, Y. Presynaptic inhibition in the phallic neuromuscular system of the cockroachPeriplaneta americana . J. Comp. Physiol. 82, 23–32 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00714167

Download citation


  • Chloride
  • Muscle Cell
  • Time Constant
  • Nerve Terminal
  • Timing Experiment