Intracellular recording techniques were used to study electrical activity in bipolar sensory cells associated with crayfish tactile receptors. Several lines of evidence indicate that spikes evoked by natural stimulation of the receptor originate at a dendritic locus. Although overshooting spikes are recorded in the soma in response to both natural and antidromic stimulation receptor potentials are observed only rarely, and, when present, their amplitude is less than 5 mv. Impulses propagating centrifugally into the soma following antidromic stimulation always exhibit an inflection in the rising phase of the spike; however, orthodromic spikes are usually uninflected. Occasionally, orthodromic responses (in the soma) exhibit rather unusual wave forms. Such spikes evoked by natural stimuli are indistinguishable from those elicited electrically in the dendrite, but they do not resemble antidromic impulses. Because the axonal and dendritic boundaries of the soma have a low safety factor for spike transmission, at high frequencies invasion of the soma by dendritic spikes is impeded and often blocked. The soma region can thus act as a low-pass filter. The significance of this self-limiting mechanism for the behavior of the animal is not known; it is suggested, however, that this impediment is a potentially critical one, and may, in other situations, have encouraged the evolution of alternative arrangements.

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