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  • 1 Hungarian Academy of Sciences Department of Experimental Zoology, Balaton Limnological Center for Ecological Research Institute P.O. Box 35 H-8237 Tihany Hungary
  • 2 Freie Universität Berlin Labor für Membranbiochemie und Molekulare Zellbiologie, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie 14195 Berlin Germany
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The ultrastructure, neuroanatomy and central projection patterns, including the intercellular connections of the statocyst hair cells of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, were studied, applying different intra- and extracellular cellular staining techniques combined with correlative light- and electron microscopy. Based on the ultrastructure different hair cells could be distinguished according to their vesicle and granule content, meanwhile the general organization of the sensory neurons was rather uniform, showing clearly separated perinuclear and “vesicular” cytoplasmic regions. Following intra- and extracellular labeling with fluorescence dyes or HRP a typical, local arborization of the hair cells was demonstrated in the cerebral ganglion neuropil, indicating a limited input-output system connected to the process of gravireception. Correlative light- and electron microscopy of HRP-labeled hair cells revealed both axo-somatic and axo-axonic output contacts of hair cell varicosities, and input on sensory axons located far from the terminal arborizations. Our findings suggest (i) a versatile ultrastructural background of hair cells corresponding possibly to processing different gravireceptive information, and (ii) the synaptic (or non-synaptic) influence of gravireception at different anatomical (terminal, axonal and cell body) levels when processed centrally. The results may also serve as a functional morphological background for previously obtained physiological and behavioral observations.

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