Intracellular recordings from pancreatic ganglia of the cat.

B. F. King, J. A. Love, J. H. Szurszewski

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63 Scopus citations


1. The anatomy, morphology, and electrophysiology of parasympathetic ganglia of cat pancreas were studied in vitro. 2. Pancreatic ganglia existed as an interconnected plexus of small ganglia (ten to fifty cells) lying in the interlobular connective tissue. Occasionally smaller ganglia (four to ten cells) were observed lying on or within nerve trunks. 3. Electron micrographs revealed the presence of neurones and satellite cells as well as unmyelinated axons and nerve terminals. Nerve terminals contained small clear vesicles and/or large, dense‐cored vesicles. 4. Intracellular recording of electrical activity revealed the presence of two types of ganglion cells. Type I ganglion cells exhibited resting membrane potentials that ranged from ‐40 to ‐63 mV and input resistances that ranged from 8 to 168 M omega. They responded to intracellular depolarizing current with action potentials, and received synaptic inputs which when activated caused fast and slow depolarizing responses. Type I cells were considered to be ganglionic neurones. Type II ganglion cells had higher resting membrane potentials that ranged from ‐61 to ‐83 mV, lower input resistances that ranged from 5 to 83 M omega and were electrically unexcitable. Repetitive stimulation of preganglionic nerves evoked a slow depolarization that was frequency dependent. Type II cells were considered to be satellite cells. 5. Stimulation of nerve trunks both central and peripheral to the ganglia evoked multiple, subthreshold, fast EPSPs in all type I cells tested. Fast EPSPs were blocked by the nicotinic antagonist hexamethonium. 6. Antidromic potentials were also observed following stimulation of either central or peripheral nerve trunks but never both. 7. In type I cells repetitive stimulation of both central and peripheral nerve trunks resulted in a slow, synaptically mediated depolarization which persisted during superfusion with nicotinic and muscarinic receptor antagonists. 8. Periods of low‐frequency, spontaneous fast EPSPs and action potentials were observed in all type I cells tested. 9. It was concluded that parasympathetic neurones in cat pancreatic ganglia receive convergent fast and slow synaptic inputs from central and possibly peripheral sources and may function in vivo as sites of integration. The occurrence of spontaneous synaptic potentials in pancreatic ganglia suggests the possibility of intrinsic neural control of pancreatic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-403
Number of pages25
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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