Crickets respond to air currents with quick avoidance behavior. The terminal abdominal ganglion (TAG) has a neuronal circuit for a wind-detection system to elicit this behavior. We investigated neuronal transmission from cercal sensory afferent neurons to ascending giant interneurons (GIs). Pharmacological treatment with 500 μM acetylcholine (ACh) increased neuronal activities of ascending interneurons with cell bodies located in the TAG. The effects of ACh antagonists on the activities of identified GIs were examined. The muscarinic ACh antagonist atropine at 3-mM concentration had no obvious effect on the activities of GIs 10-3, 10-2, or 9-3. On the other hand, a 3-mM concentration of the nicotinic ACh antagonist mecamylamine decreased spike firing of these interneurons. Immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal anti-conjugated acetylcholine antibody revealed the distribution of cholinergic neurons in the TAG. The cercal sensory afferent neurons running through the cercal nerve root showed cholinergic immunoreactivity, and the cholinergic immunoreactive region in the neuropil overlapped with the terminal arborizations of the cercal sensory afferent neurons. Cell bodies in the median region of the TAG also showed cholinergic immunoreactivity. This indicates that not only sensory afferent neurons but also other neurons that have cell bodies in the TAG could use ACh as a neurotransmitter.
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