About Mechanisms of Transformation of Sensory Neurons into Associative Neurons in the Epidermal Plexus and Ganglia of Bilateria

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Studies of morphological processes in culture of pulmonate mollusc neurons have allowed identifying structural criteria for the main morphogenetic mechanisms: growth and retraction of processes, their invagination into the cell body, and changes of neuronal orientation. By comparing these criteria with pictures of fixed preparations of epidermal plexus of phoroniids and of abdominal ganglion of polychaetes, stained supravitally with methylene blue, it has become possible to determine possible mechanisms of the initial evolutionary morphogenesis of the nervous system. Thus, it can be concluded that outcome of sensory neurons from epithelium (start of centralization) occurs as a result of retraction of their basal processes and translocation of the nucleus with the surrounding cytoplasm inside the processes to the center. This leads to a narrowing and thinning of the sensory cell apical pole that is transformed into a train process (the primary sensory dendrite). Subsequently, at the end of this process in a part of sensory neurons, a bulb of retraction appears, and the process contracts and is invaginated into the neuronal body. The loss of the sensory dendrite under conditions for formation of interneuronal connections in the nerve plexus converts the primary sensory cell into the associative neuron. A similar mechanism can also be placed in a part of sensory neurons of abdominal ganglion of polychaetes. Using morphogenetic criteria of mobility, it becomes possible to arrange a consecutive line of stages of neuronal structural reconstructions to show contraction of the receptor dendrite with its gradual invagination into the cellular soma. Loss of the dendrite in this case also transforms the sensory neuron into the associative one. All the above processes act as the inexorable cause-effect mechanisms of the single evolutionary process of centralization of the nervous system.

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