Conduction block in a branching axon innervating two muscles under physiological conditions

O. Baranes‐Shahrabany, Y. Grossman, I. Parnas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The escape reflex of the lobster consists of a series of tail flips resulting from alternating activity of the abdominal flexor and extensor muscles. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded from the medial (DEAM) and the lateral (DEAL1) deep abdominal extensor muscles during free swimming. During the escape response, the muscles were active either synchronously or separately, at frequencies of 100–120 Hz. This activity pattern could be generated either by central programming, or by a peripheral mechanism such as frequency‐dependent differential conduction block into one of the two branches of the common excitor axon (C.Ex) innervating these muscles. In order to explore the latter possibility in a living animal, we left the DEAM and DEAL1 muscles innervated only by the C.Ex from the tested segment. This was accomplished by manually cutting all other axons in the nerve under visual control. During escape responses in six successfully dissected animals, we found 27 sudden failures of the DEAM responses and only three in DEAL1. The failures were usually preceded by an increase in the delay of the response. These findings strongly suggest that conduction block occurs in the M branch innervating the DEAM under physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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