Vasomotor sympathetic neurons are more excitable than secretomotor sympathetic neurons in bullfrog paravertebral ganglia

  • Kullmann P
  • Horn J
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We compared the excitability of secretomotor B and vasomotor C neurons using virtual nicotinic synapses implemented with the dynamic clamp technique. In response to fast synaptic conductance (gsyn) waveforms modeled after B cell synaptic currents, it took 17.1 ± 1.2 nS to elicit spikes in 104 B cells and 3.3 ± 0.3 nS in 35 C cells. After normalizing for whole-cell capacitance, C cells were still more excitable than B cells (76 ± 5 pS/pF vs. 169 ± 8 pS/pF). Stimulating C cells with slower gsynwaveforms, identical to synaptic currents in C cells, further accentuated the difference between cell types. The phenotypic excitability difference did not correlate with time in culture (1-12 days) and could not be explained by resting potential (B cells: - 65.6 ± 0.9 mV, C cells: - 63.1 ± 1.6 mV) or input conductance density, which was greater in C cells (24.4 ± 4.3 pS/pF) than B cells (14.5 ± 1.5 pS/pF). Action potentials elicited by virtual EPSPs had a threshold voltage for firing that was - 28.4 ± 0.7 mV in C cells and - 19.7 ± 0.4 mV B cells, and an upstroke velocity and peak spike potential that were greater in B cells. The repetitive firing properties of B and C cells were similar; 69-78% phasic, 11-16% adapting and 11-15% tonic. We propose that B and C neurons express different types of Na+channels that shape how they integrate nicotinic synaptic potentials. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dynamic clamp
  • Nicotinic synapses
  • Sympathetic ganglia
  • Synaptic integration

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  • Paul H M Kullmann

  • John P. Horn

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