Nociceptive Pathway in the Cockroach Periplaneta americana

Stav Emanuel, Frederic Libersat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Detecting and avoiding environmental threats such as those with a potential for injury is of crucial importance for an animal’s survival. In this work, we examine the nociceptive pathway in an insect, the cockroach Periplaneta americana, from detection of noxious stimuli to nocifensive behavior. We show that noxious stimuli applied to the cuticle of cockroaches evoke responses in sensory axons that are distinct from tactile sensory axons in the sensory afferent nerve. We also reveal differences in the evoked response of post-synaptic projection interneurons in the nerve cord to tactile versus noxious stimuli. Noxious stimuli are encoded in the cockroach nerve cord by fibers of diameter different from that of tactile and wind sensitive fibers with a slower conduction velocity of 2–3 m/s. Furthermore, recording from the neck-connectives show that the nociceptive information reaches the head ganglia. Removing the head ganglia results in a drastic decrease in the nocifensive response indicating that the head ganglia and the nerve cord are both involved in processing noxious stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1100
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2019


  • extracellular recording
  • insect
  • interneurons
  • nociception
  • nociceptive receptor
  • nocifensive behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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