Modulation by neuropeptides with overlapping targets results in functional overlap in oscillatory circuit activation.

Elizabeth M. Cronin, Anna C. Schneider, Farzan Nadim, Dirk Bucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neuromodulation lends flexibility to neural circuit operation but the general notion that different neuromodulators sculpt neural circuit activity into distinct and characteristic patterns is complicated by interindividual variability. In addition, some neuromodulators converge onto the same signaling pathways, with similar effects on neurons and synapses. We compared the effects of three neuropeptides on the rhythmic pyloric circuit in the stomatogastric ganglion of male crabs, Cancer borealis. Proctolin (PROC), crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), and red pigment concentrating hormone (RPCH) activate the same modulatory inward current, IMI, and have convergent actions on synapses. However, while PROC targets all four neuron types in the core pyloric circuit, CCAP and RPCH target the same subset of only two neurons. After removal of spontaneous neuromodulator release, none of the neuropeptides restored the control cycle frequency, but all restored the relative timing between neuron types. Consequently, differences between neuropeptide effects were mainly found in the spiking activity of different neuron types. We performed statistical comparisons using the Euclidean distance in the multidimensional space of normalized output attributes to obtain a single measure of difference between modulatory states. Across preparations, circuit output in PROC was distinguishable from CCAP and RPCH, but CCAP and RPCH were not distinguishable from each other. However, we argue that even between PROC and the other two neuropeptides, population data overlapped enough to prevent reliable identification of individual output patterns as characteristic for a specific neuropeptide. We confirmed this notion by showing that blind classifications by machine learning algorithms were only moderately successful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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