The efferent dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurones, which include octopaminergic neurones, are among the most intensively studied neurones in the insect central nervous system. They differ from other insect neurones in generating endogenous spontaneous overshooting action potentials. The second half of the 1980s is certain to be considered a turning point in the study of the ion channels underlying the electrical activity of DUM neurones. Recent advances made using the patch-clamp technique have stimulated an increasing interest in the understanding of the biophysical properties of both voltage-dependent and voltage-independent ion channels. Patch-clamp studies of DUM neurones in cell culture demonstrate that these neurones express a wide variety of ion channels. At least five different types of K(+) channel have been identified: inward rectifier, delayed rectifier and A-like channels as well as Ca(2+)- and Na(+)-activated K(+) channels. Moreover, besides voltage-dependent Na(+) and Ca(2+)-sensitive Cl(−) channels, DUM neurones also express four types of Ca(2+) channel distinguished on the basis of their kinetics, voltage range of activation and pharmacological profile. Finally, two distinct resting Ca(2+) and Na(+) channels have been shown to be involved in maintaining the membrane potential and in regulating the firing pattern. In this review, we have also attempted critically to evaluate these existing ion channels with regard to their specific functions in the generation of the different phases of the spontaneous electrical activity of the DUM neurone.
Dorsal unpaired median neurones in the insect central nervous system: towards a better understanding of the ionic mechanisms underlying spontaneous electrical activity
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F. Grolleau, B. Lapied; Dorsal unpaired median neurones in the insect central nervous system: towards a better understanding of the ionic mechanisms underlying spontaneous electrical activity. J Exp Biol 1 June 2000; 203 (11): 1633–1648. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.203.11.1633
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