Sources of anterior gastric vagal efferent discharge in rats: an electrophysiological study
The source of vagal efferent discharge (VED) in the anterior branch of the gastric vagus was investigated in urethane-chloralose anesthetized rats using successive and selective vagal cuts. After cutting the right cervical vagus, the basal VEDs were increased in 15 out of 21 cases by 4-53% (median 18%). After both cervical vagi were cut, VEDs were reduced by 10-95% (median 90%) in 14 of 17 experiments and a subcervical basal VED was observed in all rats. Additional cut of the distal end of the anterior gastric branch did not induce a consistent effect. A small segment of subdiaphragmatic anterior gastric vagus (4-5 mm) was further isolated by a fourth cut at the proximal end of the anterior gastric vagus; abolition of the subcervical VED occurred in only 4 of 14 successful cuts whereas in the other 10 experiments, the VED was reduced by 38-94% (median 87%). Histological examination revealed the presence of neurons in a paraganglion lying within the isolated nerve segment. These findings indicate that the stomach not only receives VED descending directly from medullary vagal motor neurons (about 90%), but also (approximately 10%) from neural elements located between subcervical to upper abdomen levels (the 'subcervical VED') and/or between the bifurcation of the accessory celiac branch to the gastro-esophageal junction (the 'residual VED'). In rats there is little crossed gastric vagal innervation, in agreement with anatomical observations, although there is a robust inhibitory influence from contralateral vagal afferents on medullary vagal motor neurons.