, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 461-488

Single unit recordings from the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve of the cat

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Summary

  1. Within the cat geniculate ganglion three distinct neural populations were definable on the basis of single unit recordings. These three neural populations were designated “ear units”, “regular discharge units” and “tongue units.” Units from these three populations tended to be located in different regions of the ganglion and were influenced by different types of stimulation to different parts of the body.

  2. Ear units seemed to constitute a uniform functional population, with the major differences between units being the external locus of projection. Ear units typically had no spontaneous activity. They were discharged by dynamic displacements of hairs on the skin of the inner surface of the ear.

  3. Regular discharge units were classified into three types on the basis of their spontaneous activity patterns. Discharge of most of the units could be affected by static dislocations of tissues of the soft palate and pharynx. Discharge patterns, evoked and spontaneous, tended to be extremely regular.

  4. Tongue units seemed to constitute an extremely diverse population. Wide variability was shown on every measure taken of tongue unit activity. Spontaneous activity patterns varied markedly from unit to unit, with bursting discharge common. Most units could be discharged by electrical stimulation of papillae of the tongue, although the number of stimulatable papillae varied from unit to unit as did latency measures. Some tongue units were discharged by mechanical stimulation of the tongue, most by chemical stimulation of the tongue (with salt, acid, quinine and common cat foods), and some by both.

This study was supported in part by Public Health Service Grants NB06547 and NB07212, and by NSF Grant GB 4948.