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Keywords:

  • Behavioural modification;
  • central pattern generator;
  • feeding;
  • inositol;
  • Lepidoptera;
  • taste

Abstract

The effects of dietary inositol with sucrose stimulation on chewing and swallowing motor patterns in the larvae of Bombyx mori L. are investigated. Feeding activities of the larvae are significantly enhanced by a test diet containing an inositol–sucrose mixture compared with a test diet of sucrose only. Motor patterns of the mandibular closer muscle are accelerated with shorter burst durations and shorter inter-burst intervals with the test diet of inositol–sucrose compared with sucrose. In terms of swallowing behaviours, inositol–sucrose shortens the duration of drinking. Motor patterns of the cibarial compressor muscle are accelerated with shorter burst durations and shorter inter-burst intervals with the inositol–sucrose mixture. Peripheral interactions between inositol- and sucrose-sensitive cells in the maxilla are not detected. Thus, such interactions cannot explain the positive effects of inositol on chewing and swallowing. Responses of inositol-sensitive cells in the epipharyngeal sensillum are not affected by sucrose. These results suggest that dietary inositol can modify chewing and swallowing motor patterns when coupled with sucrose stimuli. These modifications may occur in the central neural networks involved in chewing and swallowing motor patterns but not in peripheral sensory interactions.