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J Physiol. 1978 Nov;284:69-82.

Modulation of single vagal efferent fibre discharge by gastrointestinal afferents in the rat.


1. A single fibre dissection technique was used to record activity from efferent fibres in the left cervical vagus nerve of urethane anaesthetized rats. 2. The efferent discharge, in all units, was modulated by gastric inflation, gastric contractions or compression of the stomach wall. The receptors mediating these effects are the slowly adapting 'in-series' tension receptors in the gastric musculature with afferent fibres in the vagus nerves. 3. Efferent units were classified according to their response to passive gastric distension and active gastric contractions. 4. Four distinct types of efferent unit were isolated. Type I units were excited and Type II units were inhibited by gastric distension and contraction. Type III units were excited at low or moderate levels of inflation and inhibited at high levels of inflation or during gastric contractions. Type IV units were inhibited by low levels of inflation but excited at higher levels. 5. Since there is clearly a reciprocal organization at least of some neurones in the vagal nucleus the possibility of reciprocal control of antagonist, cholinergic and 'purinergic' vagal pathways is discussed.

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