Effects of drugs on resting potential, membrane resistance, and excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (e.p.s.p.'s and i.p.s.p.'s) of lobster muscle fibers were studied using intracellular microelectrodes Acetylcholine, d-tubocurarine, strychnine, and other drugs of respectively related actions on vertebrate synapses were without effects even in 1 per cent solutions (10- w/v). Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) acted powerfully and nearly maximally at 10-7 to 10-6 w/v. Membrane resistance fell two- to tenfold, the resting potential usually increasing slightly. This combination of effects, which indicates activation of inhibitory synaptic membrane, was also produced by other short chain ω-amino acids and related compounds that inactivate depolarizing axodendritic synapses of cat. The conductance change, involving increased permeability to Cl-, by its clamping action on membrane potential shortened as well as decreased individual e.p.s.p.'s.

Picrotoxin in low concentration (ca. 10-7 w/v) and guanidine in higher (ca. 10-3 w/v) specifically inactivate inhibitory synapses. GABA and picrotoxin are competitive antagonists. The longer chain ω-amino acids which inactivate hyperpolarizing axodendritic synapses of cat are without effect on lobster neuromuscular synapse. However, one member of this group, carnitine (ß-OH-GABA betaine), activated the excitatory synapses, a decreased membrane resistance being associated with depolarzation. The pharmacological properties of lobster neuromuscular synapses and probably also of other crustacean inhibitory synapses appear to stand in a doubly inverted relation to axodendritic synapses of cat.

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