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Brain Res. 2000 Jun 2;866(1-2):237-46.

Biophysical properties and responses to glutamate receptor agonists of identified subpopulations of rat geniculate ganglion neurons.

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Biology Department, Stetson University, DeLand, FL 32720, USA.


The goal of the current study was to evaluate the electrophysiological properties and responses to glutamate receptor agonists of rat geniculate ganglion (GG) neurons innervating the tongue. Subpopulations of GG neurons were labeled by injecting Fluoro-Gold (FG) or True Blue chloride into the anterior tongue and soft palate (AT and SP neurons) and applying FG crystals to the posterior auricular branch of the facial nerve (PA neurons). Three to 12 days later, the GG neurons were acutely isolated and patch clamped. Although many biophysical properties of the AT, SP and PA neurons were similar, significant differences were found among these groups in properties related to cell excitability. For example, the average amount of current necessary to elicit an action potential was 61 pA in AT neurons (n=55), 90 pA in SP neurons (n=41) and 189 pA in PA neurons (n=35, P<0.001). In addition, AT neurons tended to fire significantly more action potentials during depolarization as well as following hyperpolarizing pulses than SP or PA neuron types. Most GG neurons responded to application of glutamate receptor agonists. The neurons responded with a depolarization accompanied by a reduction in input resistance. These results suggest that subpopulations of neurons in the geniculate ganglion have distinct biophysical properties and express functional glutamate receptors. The differing biophysical properties of GG neurons is possibly related to their functional heterogeneity and glutaminergic neurotransmission may function in the processing of gustatory, and other sensory information, within the geniculate ganglion and its projections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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