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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Excitatory and inhibitory junctional potentials (EJPs and IJPs, respectively) were recorded with intracellular electrodes along the length of the opener muscle of the claw of the lobster Homarus americanus. The most proximal EJPs and IJPs were larger than those in any other axial region for both the initial impulse and the largest impulses in a 4-Hz pulse train. EJPs also facilitated more than IJPs at various test frequencies, although their degree of facilitation did not vary along the length of the muscle. Distal IJPs facilitated more than proximal ones. Since EJPs were always larger than IJPs, a minor role for postsynaptic inhibition in regulating claw opening is suggested. In contrast, presynaptic inhibition was found in all fibers along the muscle where, almost without exception, it was extremely effective in preventing the appearance of EJPs in the muscle. When the inhibitor and excitor were stimulated together at given frequencies, EJPs and IJPs frequently became unsynchronized. Escaped EJPs appeared as variously attenuated impulses having a frequency-dependent periodicity. Both EJPs and IJPs were larger in cutter than in crusher claws, in keeping with differences in their morphology, muscle fiber composition, and behavior.


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