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The auditory system of the cricket has the unusual ability to respond to deafferentation by compensatory growth and synapse formation. Auditory interneurons such as ascending neuron 2 (AN-2) in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus possess a dendritic arbor that normally grows up to, but not over, the midline of the prothoracic ganglion. After chronic deafferentation throughout larval development, however, the AN-2 dendritic arbor changes dramatically, and medial dendrites sprout across the midline where they form compensatory synapses with the auditory afferents from the contralateral ear. We quantified the extent of the effects of chronic, unilateral deafferentation by measuring several cellular parameters of 3 different neuronal components of the auditory system: the deafferented AN-2, the contralateral (or nondeafferented) AN-2 and the contralateral auditory afferents. Neuronal tracers and confocal microscopy were used to visualize neurons, and double-label experiments were performed to examine the cellular relationship between pairs of cells. Dendritic complexity was quantified using a modified Sholl analysis, and the length and volume of processes and presynaptic varicosities were assessed under control and deafferented conditions. Chronic deafferentation significantly influenced the morphology of all 3 neuronal components examined. The overall dendritic complexity of the deafferented AN-2 dendritic arbor was reduced, while both the contralateral AN-2 dendritic arbor and the remaining, intact, auditory afferents grew longer. We found no significant changes in the volume or density of varicosities after deafferentation. These complex cellular changes after deafferentation are interpreted in the light of the reported differential regulation of vesicle-associated membrane protein and semaphorin 2a. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.