Article

Electrical and pharmacological properties of petrosal ganglion neurons that innervate the carotid body.

Laboratorio de Neurobiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, P Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago 1, Chile.
Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology (Impact Factor: 1.97). 08/2007; 157(1):130-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.resp.2006.12.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The petrosal ganglion (PG) contains the somata of primary afferent neurons that innervate the chemoreceptor (glomus) cells in the carotid body (CB). The most accepted model of CB chemoreception states that natural stimuli trigger the release of one or more transmitters from glomus cells, which in turn acting on specific post-synaptic receptors increases the rate of discharge in the nerve endings of PG neurons. However, PG neurons that project to the CB represent only small fraction (roughly 20%) of the whole PG and their identification is not simple since their electrophysiological and pharmacological properties are not strikingly different as compared with other PG neurons, which project to the carotid sinus or the tongue. In addition, differences reported on the actions of putative transmitters on PG neurons may reflect true species differences. Nevertheless, some experimental strategies have contributed to identify and characterize the properties of PG neurons that innervate the CB. In this review, we examined the electrophysiological properties and pharmacological responses of PG neurons to putative CB excitatory transmitters, focusing on the methods of study and species differences. The evidences suggest that ACh and ATP play a major role in the fast excitatory transmission between glomus cells and chemosensory nerve endings in the cat, rat and rabbit. However, the role of other putative transmitters such as dopamine, 5-HT and GABA is less clear and depends on the specie studied.

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