Silent (LPa2 and LPa3) and spontaneously active (V3, V5, V17) neurons of subesophageal ganglia of Helix pomatia were irradiated via a 125-mm fiber probe with a 10-mW He-Ne laser (λ = 632.8 nm), and the rate of membrane depolarization, duration of latent period, and probability of spike activity were measured as the functions of light intensity. It was found that silent neurons can not be activated by He-Ne laser irradiation. When the spontaneously active neurons generating spikes every 7-10 min were irradiated in between their spontaneous spikes, the depolarization of membrane and generation of action potentials occurred as a function of light intensity, I. The probability of spike generation increased until the intensity reached 1 W/cm2, and when I = 4 W/cm2 was equal to 1. The depolarization of the membrane had a threshold at I = 0.1 W/cm2, then increased with increasing the intensity, and reached a plateau at I = 0.7 W/cm2 (depolarization rate 0.18 mV/s). Duration of the latent period decreased from 28 s to 17 s when the intensity was increased from 0.05 to 0.3 W/cm2. Further increase of the light intensity, from 0.3 to 1.5 W/cm2, caused a less pronounced change in the duration of the latent period (e.g., latent period equal to 11 s at I = 1.5 W/cm2).
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