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J Neurophysiol. 1992 Dec;68(6):2033-41.

Somal membrane properties of physiologically identified sensory neurons in the rat: effects of nerve growth factor.

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Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


1. Intracellular recordings were made in situ from physiologically identified dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells in untreated rats aged 5-8 wk and in rats treated from birth to 5 wk of age with nerve growth factor (NGF) or antisera against NGF (anti-NGF). 2. As demonstrated in cats, the shape of the somal action potential (AP) of DRG cells of normal rats is correlated with peripheral receptor type. Cells that innervate high-threshold mechanoreceptors (HTMRs) and thus respond to noxious stimulation of skin or deep tissue in the periphery have long-duration APs characterized by an inflection on the falling limb of the spike. Cells that innervate low-threshold mechanoreceptors (LTMRs) have briefer APs that lack the inflection. Somal APs of neurons supplying HTMRs tend to be larger in amplitude, have slower peak rates of rise, and on average have longer afterhyperpolarizations than those innervating LTMRs. 3. It was also found that the somal APs of HTMRs were not blocked by 200 microM tetrodotoxin (TTX) applied directly to the surface of the ganglion. In contrast, those of LTMRs were rapidly and irreversibly blocked. Despite the difference in the sensitivity of the soma, axonal conduction in both types of cells was abolished by TTX. 4. Chronic treatment with NGF resulted in an increase in duration of the falling limb of the spike compared with untreated control animals or animals treated with preimmune rabbit serum. This was true only in cells that had long duration APs to begin with, i.e., HTMRs. LTMRs were unaffected by the treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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