Electrophysiological properties of neurons in guinea pig bronchial parasympathetic ganglia

A. C. Myers, B. J. Undem, D. Weinreich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Active and passive membrane membrane properties of parasympathetic neurons were examined in vitro in a newly localized ganglion on the right bronchus of the guinea pig. Neurons could be classified as 'tonic' or 'phasic' based on their action potential discharge response to suprathreshold depolarizing constant current steps. Tonic neurons (39%) responded with repetitive action potentials sustained throughout the current step, whereas phasic neurons (61%) responded with an initial burst of action potentials at the onset of the step but then accommodated. Tonic and phasic neurons could not be differentiated by other active or passive membrane properties. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve elicited one to three temporally distinct fast nicotinic excitatory potentials, and tetanic stimulation of the vagus nerve evoked slow depolarizing (10% of neurons) and hyperpolarizing (25% of neurons) potentials; the latter was mimicked by muscarinic receptor activation. Similar slow and fast postsynaptic potentials were observed in both tonic and phasic neurons. We suggest neurons within the bronchial ganglion possess membrane and synaptic properties capable of integrating presynaptic stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L403-L409
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6 3-3
StatePublished - 1990


  • airway
  • autonomic ganglia
  • intracellular recording
  • synaptic potentials
  • tonic and phasic neurons
  • vagus nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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