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The Desheathed Periphery of Aplysia Giant Neuron. Fine Structure and Measurement of [Ca2+]o Fluctuations with Calcium-selective Microelectrodes


G. Nicaise, as above


The visceral ganglion of Aplysia was mechanically desheathed after protease softening of the connective tissue to permit the positioning of ion-selective electrodes in the vicinity of the neuronal membrane. The effects of this treatment on satellite glia and neuronal cytology were observed by electron microscopy. The intracellular alterations were not suggestive of serious membrane damage but the cohesion between glial and neuronal membranes was affected—the glial processes appeared to retract from the trophospongium and in some cases the neuronal membrane was completely naked. The external calcium activity [Ca2+]o at the surface of identified giant neuron, R2, was measured using double-barrelled calcium-selective microelectrodes. A decrease of ∼1 mM in [Ca2+]o could be recorded only during trains of action potentials induced by intracellular depolarizing current injection, and when the electrode was pushed firmly against the neuron surface. A recovery from this decrease in [Ca2+]o could sometimes, but not always, be observed during the phase of induced neuronal activity.