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J Neurophysiol. 1989 Aug;62(2):501-9.

Cross-correlation analysis of taste neuron pairs in rat solitary tract nucleus.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Aichi-Gakuin University Dental School, Nagoya, Japan.


1. Experiments were conducted to examine the possibility that the taste-sensitive neurons with similar taste-selectivity are preferentially innervated by common driving neurons whose taste-selectivity is also similar. 2. Multiple microelectrodes, in most cases a pair of glued electrodes, were inserted into the unilateral solitary tract nucleus (NTS) of the rat, and simultaneous recordings were made in neuron pairs responding to the four basic taste stimuli. The spike response density (RD) of each neuron during tastant stimulation was determined. Correlation coefficients of spike occurrence were calculated for each neuron pair during application of tastants and distilled water and also during spontaneous background activity. The frequency of correlated discharge (FC) of a neuron pair was measured as the area of the peak appearing on the cross-correlogram (CC). The FC value was divided by the RD value to calculate the weight of the correlated discharges in the output of each neuron (WC value). 3. Eleven pairs showed peaks in the CC constructed during tastant stimulation, whereas in other 11 pairs no peaks were found. The cross-correlation-positive group with peaks was composed of 18 NaCl-best (responding most vigorously to NaCl) and 4 HCl-best neurons, whereas the negative group without peaks included 9 NaCl-best, 9 HCl-best, and 4 sucrose-best neurons. 4. In the cross-correlation-positive pairs the taste quality most effective for one of the component neurons was often (13 NaCl-best and 2 HCl-best, 15/22 = 0.681) identical to the taste quality giving the highest probability of correlated discharge, i.e., highest FC value, in the neuron pair. 5. There were five cross-correlation-positive pairs (5/11 = 0.455) in which both of the component neurons were NaCl-best and the FC value was highest during NaCl stimulation. 6. The CCs constructed during water application exhibited peaks for all the pairs which gave positive cross-correlation in response to stimulation with tastants, whereas all pairs with negative cross-correlation during tastant stimulation never gave a detectable peak during water application. 7. In three pairs of the cross-correlation-positive group, the CCs constructed during spontaneous background activity without application of any liquid showed a small peak. 8. During NaCl stimulation some neurons exhibited relatively high FC values, but the WC values were always low. In contrast, during sucrose stimulation, the FC value was always low, but the WC value was quite high in some neurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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