The contributions of monosynaptic and polysynaptic circuitry to the tail-withdrawal reflex in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica were assessed by the use of physiologically based neural network models. Effects of monosynaptic circuitry were examined by the use of a two-layer network model with four sensory neurons in the input layer and one motor neuron in the output layer. Results of these simulations indicated that the monosynaptic circuit could not account fully for long-duration responses of tail motor neurons elicited by tail stimulation. A three-layer network model was constructed by interposing a layer of two excitatory interneurons between the input and output layers of the two-layer network model. The three-layer model could account for long-duration responses in motor neurons. Sensory neurons are a known site of plasticity in Aplysia. Synaptic plasticity at more than one locus modified dramatically the input-output relationship of the three-layer network model. This feature gave the model redundancy in its plastic properties and points to the possibility of distributed memory in the circuitry mediating withdrawal reflexes in Aplysia. Please see paper for more results and details.
Model Type: Realistic Network
Region(s) or Organism(s): Aplysia
Simulation Environment: SNNAP
Implementer(s): Baxter, Douglas
White JA, Ziv I, Cleary LJ, Baxter DA, Byrne JH. (1993). The role of interneurons in controlling the tail-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia: a network model. Journal of neurophysiology. 70 [PubMed]