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Br J Pharmacol. 1980 Dec;70(4):593-608.

Intracellular observations on the effects of muscarinic agonists on rat sympathetic neurones.


1 Responses of single neurones in isolated superior cervical ganglia of the rat to muscarinic agonists were recorded with intracellular microelectrodes. 2 (+/-)-Muscarine (1 to 10 microM) and methylfurmethide (1 to 3 microM) produced reversible membrane depolarizations (less than or equal to 15 mV) accompanied by a fall in input conductance and an increased tendency toward repetitive spike discharges. The spike configuration was unchanged. 3 Analysis of steady-state current/voltage curves revealed the most consistent muscarinic effect to be a large reduction (approximately 50% at 10 microM muscarine) in input slope conductance around rest potential. This conductance decrease diminished as the membrane was hyperpolarized, and the normal increase in slope conductance with membrane depolarization was depressed. The current/voltage curves in the between -65 and -88 mV (i.e. 9 to 28 mV hyperpolarized to rest potential). 4 Divalent cations (10 mM [Ca2+] or [Mg2+]) showed a small muscarine-like effect on the current/voltage and slope conductance/voltage curves, but did not affect the action of muscarine itself. 5 Tetraethylammonium (TEA, 5 mM) also had a small muscarine-like effect, and depressed or reversed the action of muscarine. However, TEA differed from muscarine in blocking orthodromic transmission and prolonging direct spike repolarization. 6 It is concluded that the primary effect of muscarinic agonists is to alter the rectifying properties of the cell within the potential range -80 to -40 mV.

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