To examine whether nitric oxide (NO)-generative neurons are included in the central circuitry for generation of feeding pattern in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, two staining techniques for NADPH diaphorase and serotonin (5-HT) were applied for its central nervous system (CNS). The former technique is known to show localization of NO synthase; the latter is well employed as a marker for the feeding circuitry because 5-HT is a main transmitter in it. In the buccal ganglion, B2 motoneuron was found to be a putative NO-generative neuron. This motoneuron is not involved directly in the coordination of feeding pattern but is activated simultaneously with the feeding to control the oesophageal and gut tissues for the digestion. Taking account of the diffusion effects of NO, the NO released from B2 motoneuron, when the feeding is started, is thought to sufficiently modulate the feeding circuitry. In the cerebral ganglion, the superior lip nerve, the median lip nerve and the tentacle nerve included both putative NO-generative fibers and serotonergic fibers. These fibers are not identical, but the NO released in the nerves may activate the serotonergic fibers, resulting in the influence upon the initiation of the feeding. Therefore, our present findings clearly showed that NO is not involved in transmission within the central circuitry for the feeding, but suggested that NO can crucially affect the feeding behavior, such as initiation and modulation of the feeding pattern. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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