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Effects of antidromic activity in gustatory nerve fibers on taste disc cells of the frog tongue


Antidromic electrical stimulation of the lingual branch of the glossopharyngeal (IX) nerve of the frog was carried out while recording intracellular potentials of taste disc cells.

Antidromic activation of sensory fibers resulted in depolarization of cells of the upper layer of the disc and most commonly in hyperpolarization of the cells in the lower layer. These changes in potential exhibited latencies greater than 1 s (Fig. 3), and thus cannot be due to electrotonic effects of action potentials in terminals of IX nerve fibers, which have much shorter conduction times. These cell potentials also showed summation, adaptation and post-stimulus rebound (Figs. 3, 4).

Depending upon the chemical stimulus used, antidromic activity produced either depression or enhancement of gustatory fiber discharge in response to taste stimuli (Fig. 5).

Alteration of the resting membrane potential by current injection did not significantly modify the antidromically evoked potentials (Fig. 8), whereas chemical stimulation of the tongue did (Fig. 7), indicating that these potential changes are not the result of passive electrical processes.

These experimental results indicate that the membrane potential of taste disc cells can be modified by antidromic activity in their afferent nerves. This mechanism may be responsible for peripheral interactions among gustatory units of the frog tongue.

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The research was supported in part by NIH grant NS-09168.

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Kutyna, F.A., Bernard, R.A. Effects of antidromic activity in gustatory nerve fibers on taste disc cells of the frog tongue. J. Comp. Physiol. 118, 291–306 (1977).

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  • Nerve Fiber
  • Current Injection
  • Rest Membrane Potential
  • Conduction Time
  • Electrical Process