Simultaneous intracellular recordings from enteric neurons reveal that myenteric ah neurons transmit via slow excitatory postsynaptic potentials
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Simultaneous intracellular electrical recordings were made from pairs of neurons separated circumferentially by 100-200 microns of the myenteric plexus of the guinea-pig ileum in vitro. The recording electrodes were filled with the dye neurobiotin which was injected into impaled nerve cells, and later revealed histochemically. Intracellular current pulses were used to evoke action potentials via the recording electrode in one type of myenteric neuron, in most cases an AH neuron, while a second electrode was used to record from a simultaneously impaled S neuron or AH neuron. AH neurons are thought to be primary sensory neurons, whereas S neurons are interneurons and motor neurons. Ninety pairs of neurons were adequately tested for interaction. From these, 17 S neurons and three AH neurons that responded to AH neuron stimulation were detected. In each case, the response was a slow depolarization that was seen only in response to a train of stimuli at 10 Hz. The slow depolarizations were enhanced by passing depolarizing current and diminished by hyperpolarization. Responses were also diminished by lowering external Ca.2+ and elevating Mg2+. In all cases in which intracellular recording indicated communication between neurons, morphological evidence of connection was seen. In no case was there communication without connection, but in four instances, morphological connections appeared to exist, although no physiological evidence of communication was obtained.
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